BFA Graphic Design
David Thomas is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work is distinguished by appropriate pairings of intersensory elements, geometric form, and type. His work takes on elements of synesthetic design, translating sensory data from one experience to another. These range from static print, to videography that reacts to sound itself. Usage of texture is strong in his illustrations, often shaded with striking shadows or an organic surface.
His work has been exhibited in the Joplin Post Art Library, the Neosho City Council. He has worked for local print advertising, and has created a number of local album covers, event posters, and even cultivated videography for local music events. He’s been crucially involved in three student art groups at Missouri Southern State University; 39Fifty, Focal Point, and the MSSU AIGA chapter. David will often create assets by hand, and use these to digitally assemble a truly unforgettable experience.
What I’ve done here is design how sound “looks”. In my first series, I’ve developed a visual language that follows three separate sub-elements: Rhythm, Tone, and Timbre. By subdividing these pieces into these common sections, I’m able to create charts of “events of interest”, what I find most important in the music. In Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”, I’ve taken the sharp dramatic shifts in pitch, and translated them into a geometric landscape rich with valleys and cliffs. In Blind Willie Johnson: Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground, I’ve conveyed the creeping loneliness that Blind Willie Johnson conveyed when he recorded his iconic work. In the final culmination of this process, SoundCircle, I’ve invited the viewer to engage in a constantly changing version of this system. Twenty-seven total measures of music can be made with only nine individual sub-elements. I invite the viewer to sketch out their favorite music using my system, and define visually how they experience sound!
In my second series, I’ve taken some of my favorite songs and found ways to use audio visualization to create moving illustrations. In Bon Iver: Blood Bank, I use the subtle repetition of rings around a figure covering his face. In The Mountain Goats: Clemency for the Wizard King, the song was split into four parts in audio editing software, and applied to four band members. This is notably different from the other pieces in this series, with the others using different methods to identify where to place movement. In Rozhdestvensky conducts Prokofiev – Quintet, I used the volume of sound to make a cityscape bounce with the loudness of the music, and an outline of the skyline constantly shifts to shape itself into the form of sound. In Nick Shoulders: Snakes & Waterfalls, I placed dots and lines to have sound travel upon, a road for the sound to loop around and display the playfulness in the original work. In Grand Falls Plaza: Swans, the idea of traversing life while numb to everyday activities is visualized.
Music resonates within the shape of us all, but we don’t always know how to define it.