Magic Happens

Matthew Hunt & Tony Garifalakis

Matthew Hunt: We have in common a piece of text: ‘Magic Happens’. Yours features in a work with yellow script floating over an attack dog, printed on shooting target paper. Mine shows the text in straight black and white, in a made up font with shadow 3D blocking effect using scraperboard, printed at Big Fag Press in Sydney in 2010. I can’t remember why I made it now, maybe because I really don’t like the expression and I am forced to read it via purple bumper stickers and just needed to get it out of my head.

Tony Garifalakis: I think you must be talking about the exact same bumper sticker that I reference. There is a series of these stickers with various feel-good slogans like ‘MAGIC HAPPENS’, ‘I BELIEVE IN ANGELS’, ‘GODDESS IN TRAINING’, etc. I included these and other texts referenced from ‘New Age’ sources in the series of works ‘Affirmations’ (2012). In this series I redesigned a number of these texts and had them made out of a variety of holographic and metallic vinyl, which I then adhered to photographic paper shooting targets. What initially attracted me to these texts, apart from the psychology behind them, is their presentation and design and the cultural associations this type of visual language contains. The typefaces employed are frivolous, novelty typefaces, certainly not ones used in ‘serious’ design. They are usually accompanied by simplistic clip art images such as smiley suns, angels, sparkles, love hearts and butterflies. The colours used are bold and there appears to be an extensive use of holographic and metallic surfaces.

Tony Garifalakis
Angels  2012
Adhesive vinyl on paper shooting target, 90 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the artist

The overall effect is one of either childish innocence or bad graphic design. It’s difficult to say which of the two describes it best — I guess it’s up to the consumer. Having studied graphic design I am interested in so called ‘bad’ design, I find it as interesting as ‘good’ design.

MH: I am always referring back to my graphic design training, as opposed to ‘Graphic Design’. I finished not really wanting to be a graphic designer unless I was working for Peter Saville or working at i-D magazine.

TG: It’s interesting that you differentiate between design and its methods, for me they are inextricably linked.


Read in full via the online issue