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Haotian Dong &
Dexin (Leah) Chen

Visual Artists

1. How did the idea for your project "Temptastic" come about, and what inspired you to explore the science of the brain through font design?

A: The idea for our project "Temptastic" was born from a desire to blend the realms of art and science in a visually captivating way. Inspired by the intricate beauty of CT scans of the brain, we sought to explore the neural landscape through typography. The science of the brain, with its complex symmetries and structures, provided a rich source of inspiration to create something unique and meaningful.

Motivated by the desire to merge art and science in a novel way, we decided to embark on a journey of transforming these scientific images into a font design that would evoke a sense of wonder and appreciation for both disciplines. We saw an opportunity to break free from conventional font design, which often adheres to predefined shapes and styles, and instead, we wanted to craft letterforms that mirrored the brain's complexity.

2. Could you elaborate on the process of translating CT scans of the brain into the unique and artistic letterforms that constitute the "Temptastic" font?

A: Translating CT scans into the "Temptastic" font was a meticulous process. We analyzed the shapes and patterns within the scans and deconstructed them into their fundamental elements. These elements were then reimagined as artistic letterforms, each one embodying the essence of the brain's organic geometry. The result is a fusion of scientific accuracy and creative expression.

3. In your artist statement, you mention complementing each other's strengths. How did your individual areas of expertise contribute to the creation of this experimental font design?

A: Leah is an absolute expert at font design and book layout, and Haotian is more focused on the motion graphic and display font, which is more playful. So we did a thing that just let Haotian explore whatever he wanted, and then Leah could always pull him back a little bit to make the project more “realistic”.

4. "Temptastic" strikes a balance between artistic expression and readability. How did you manage to maintain legibility while incorporating elements of imaginative and decorative font design?

A: In order to maintain legibility, we preserved the fundamental characteristics of each letter. We then carefully incorporated imaginative and decorative elements, enhancing the aesthetic appeal without impairing the font's usability.

5. The dynamic poster you created realistically reproduces a brain CT. How did you approach this challenging task, and what were some of the creative decisions you made during the design process?

A: It was a fascinating challenge to design a dynamic poster that realistically reproduced a brain CT. To accomplish this, we carefully studied CT images, analyzing the nuances of shading, texture, and depth in each image. With this understanding, we were able to recreate the intricate details of brain scans while adding an artistic touch to them. As part of the creative process, the most visually appealing aspects of the CT scans were chosen and emphasized within the poster design.

6. The final zine is composed of brain science vocabulary and superimposed CT images. Can you share your process of curating and combining these elements to create a coherent and visually impactful publication?

A: Curating the final zine involved selecting brain science terminology and superimposing CT images. The goal was to develop a coherent narrative that would captivate the audience. The process involved pairing specific terms with corresponding CT visuals, guiding the reader through an immersive experience that seamlessly integrates scientific knowledge with artistic interpretation.

7. Could you tell us more about the use of transparent vellum paper for printing the zine and the significance of continuous exposure and superimposition in the final product?

A: To enhance the thematic coherence of the zine, transparent vellum paper was used for printing. By exposing and superimposing images continuously on vellum, a layering effect was created, mimicking the intricate layers of the brain. Through the use of this technique, one was able to illustrate the layers of understanding that can be attained when one explores both the artistic and scientific aspects of the brain.

8. Throughout the project, you emphasised extensive research and experimentation. What were some key insights or surprises you discovered during this process?

A: Through extensive research and experimentation, we gained several enlightening insights. Art and science are profoundly intertwined, and the principles governing both realms are often similar. By merging these two approaches, we were able to create a project that was more engaging and impactful than we originally intended.

9. How do you perceive the intersection of art and science in your work, and what message or experience do you hope to convey to your audience through “Temptastic"?

A: The original idea for "Temptastic" was not just about creating a visually captivating font design but also about conveying a deeper message to the audience. We wanted to explore the concept of temptation and challenge the common perception that it is always negative or something to be avoided. Instead, we aimed to present temptation as a natural aspect of human existence, akin to a seasoning that adds flavor and excitement to life.

In our modern society, there is often a tendency to view temptation as something to resist or suppress, associated with making bad decisions or indulging in harmful behaviors. However, we believed that there is a more nuanced perspective to be explored. Temptation can be an alluring force, capable of adding zest and excitement to life's journey. Just as spices and seasonings enhance the taste of food, embracing certain temptations can enrich our experiences and make life more vibrant and interesting.

10. As a collaborative team, how do you navigate the creative process and ensure that your individual styles and visions align to produce a cohesive and successful project like "Temptastic"?

A: Navigating the collaborative process was a dynamic journey of mutual understanding and compromise. In order to align our individual styles and visions, regular communication was essential, ensuring that every creative decision contributed to the cohesiveness of "Temptastic." The project was successful and unified due to the respect each of us showed for each other's expertise and acceptance of the unique perspectives each of us brought to the table.

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