Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chris Turner and The Lot Letters

Artist Profile

The Lot letters have become a face and a personality for this project, and I’d like to highlight the artist who created them. Chris Turner envisioned the letters after seeing a photoshop picture I had put together that featured a wintry empty lot with gigantic white letters. He said, what if I do that? He made the “L”, and I was in awe.

The letters have personality. They are funny and warm. They make people smile. They possess a presence that is equally monumental and inviting, and The Lot would not be the same without them.

Chris Turner has vision. He is a very talented sculptor and painter, and one of my favorite things about him is his sense of humor. As we talked about his inspiration for the letters, he cited the 2007 documentary Helvetica”, a film that takes a look at the psychology of design and explores the influence and dominant presence of the Helvetica font in western culture. THE LOT letters are based on Helvetica, which Turner describes as “the Little Richard of fonts”.

He also talked about the way the letters evoke that Sesame Street feeling. When I think about Sesame Street, I think: safe, steps, inviting, solid, playful yet practical….. I also immediately think of Big Bird, but Turner says Grover was his favorite. Because he had two identities: super and non-super. And because Grover acted a little funny, like maybe he had a drinking problem, always falling down in an Un-Muppet-like way.

(Chris Turner) “When I was a kid, things were different in those days. You know, I always liked running around, shooting pop cans. I didn’t even start making art until I was 30. I would make stuff in my head, and then once I actually started making it, I realized I could do this every day for 100 years and never get bored.”

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