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Simon Emery

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Personal profile

Approach to teaching

Simon Emery is a graphic designer, illustrator and printmaker with a history of career successes, notably in the music and entertainment industries.

His interest in systematic creative thinking techniques and meditation developed alongside a previous career as a registered Yoga Teacher and his current Druid practice (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids). As well as informing his own innovative printmaking practice, such methods were incorporated into the delivery of a six year research project: ‘A Practical Exploration of Creative Thinking Systems’ to 93 students from 12 creative disciplines within the School of Art (2009 to 2015).

 

After graduating from The Kent Institute of Art and Design, Simon Emery worked at the studio of Neville Brody from 1991 to 1995. During this time he managed projects from a diverse range of clients including: The Edinburgh Festival, The Royal Festival Hall, The United Nations, Agfa International, Germany's Haus Der Kulturen, Japan's Korakuen theme park, Font Shop International and The Font Bureau in the USA.

Whilst working for Neville Brody an experimental approach to creative problem solving developed. Process techniques included the digital integration of type and image through photography and mixed media image manipulation.

After leaving Neville Brody's studio, Emery set up his own freelance practice. Between 1995 and 2000 he worked primarily for the music industry; clients included: Island Records, Sony Music, Polygram, London Records, R and S Records Belgium, On-U Sound, Dorado and All Good Vinyl. His record sleeves crossed the musical boundaries of Electronica, Dub Music, Jazz, HipHop, TripHop and Jungle. Art work formats included: 12", LP, CD sleeves, billboards, posters, banners and press ads.

From 1998 -2004 Emery was a member of the illustration group called 'Heart'. Darrel Rees, director of the illustration agency Heart, explains Simon Emery's method of image making as follows: His rigorous approach to research for his design projects readily translated into an articulate problem solving approach to illustration. His layering of elements within the image sets up a hierarchy of information, allowing him to tackle complex subject matter in an informative manner.

Previous clients include: Newsweek, BBC, Thames & Hudson, Cinven, Range Rover, Condé Nast, The University of Brighton, The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, Radio Times and New Scientist.

How I like to teach

Simon's research project, 'A Practical Exploration of Creative Thinking Systems', was initially funded by the Creativity Fellowship and aimed to research, collate, develop and test systematic creative thinking techniques.

Simon sought to enhance and evolve current teaching and learning practices contrasting approaches across the creative disciplines with a view to ascertaining the  benefits of systematic creative thinking tools in courses at Brighton. 

He considered how creative thinking systems might stimulate student exploration, invention and innovation while expanding perception and enhancing visual awareness. This helped identify the most effective 'Creative Thinking Systems' and the means to implement, teach and deliver a 'Systematic Creative Thinking Programme'. 

Selected professional achievements

  • Exhibition: 'The Heart Agency' group show, The Art Directors Club, New York City (2004)
  • Three feature illustrations for Newsweek Magazine (USA) relating to the following articles: 'Ultimate Remote Control', 'Wireless Power' and 'Wireless Shopper'(2004)
  • A feature illustration for Spirit Magazine (USA)/ Southwest Airlines (USA) relating to an article on the interaction of music and technology(2004)
  • Six feature illustrations for Newsweek Magazine (USA) relating to articles that describe how the internet is ingrained in human life. The illustrations represented the following themes: 'Politics & Democracy', 'Commerce', 'Media & News', 'Medicine', 'Society & Community', 'Data & Information' (2004)
  • Illustration and Design for Ian Noble, Picture Perfect Fusions of Illustration and Design author (RotoVision)(2003)
  • Illustration and design for Darrel Rees, Beat No 1 The Volvic Box Issue Author (Heart)(2003)
  • Four feature illustrations for Condé Nast (information graphics) relating to an article that documents a week's journey of a Leer jet(2003)
  • Cover illustration for The Guardian relating to an article on 'Charity Finance'(2003)
  • A feature illustration for Nasdaq Magazine (USA) that compared the New York Stock Exchange with the Nasdaq(2003)
  • A feature illustration for Inc magazine (USA) relating to an article entitled 'What's Next?'(2003)
  • A feature illustration for Global Agenda relating to 'The Netocracy' (people with power in the information age)(2003)
  • Design of The Art Book 2003 edition
  • Twelve feature illustrations for The Sunday Times magazine. The images all related to various aspects of finance(2002)
  • A feature illustration for Village Voice magazine (USA) on student life in America(2002)
  • Six feature illustrations for PC Magazine (USA) relating to various aspects of new computer technology(2002)
  • Two feature illustrations for NewScientist for an article on molecular packaging(2002)
  • Design of logo icon for Sainsbury Magazine for The Queen's Jubilee(2002)
  • A feature illustration for Reuters magazine relating to an article on finance.(2002)
  • Design of a double page information graphic for 'One Life' Redwood Publishing's Range Rover magazine. The image illustrates the rigorous tests that the new Range Rover underwent in locations across the world (2001)
  • The design of The Art Book 2002 edition (2001)
  • Four feature illustrations for Which? magazine relating to an article on internet access (2001)
  • The redesign of Children's BBC Television identity, including eight television background design identities, set designs and animated sequences
  • University of Brighton Faculty of Arts and Architecture degree show catalogue publication (152 printed pages)
  • Design, photography and picture research for Thames and Hudson's Trade Secrets (book with 240 printed pages)
  • Design, Picture Research, Cover Design for Agfa International: Agfa TypeReference Book (800 printed pages)
  • Sony Music: Japan/R and S Records: Belgium Project Wax Doctor Selected Works: LP, CD, Limited Edition formats Role Design and Photography
  • Polygram/London Records. Projec:t Goldie: Saturnz Return: LP, CD, Limited Edition formats, billboards, posters
  • Island Records/Polygram: Alex Reece: 12", LP, CD, Limited Edition formats, billboards, posters, press ads Role Design, Art Direction and Photography for complete campaign
  • Camden Mix. Arts and music festival identity Included: series of 6 posters, billboards, banners and displays, special events and flyers (with Richard Bonner Morgan and Ian Wright)
  • Design, art direction and photography of entire All Good Vinyl Record Label products for 1996-1998
  • Client: Dorado Records
  • Series of record sleeves over one year period for the artists 'Coolbreeze' and 'Kid Loops' including 12", LP, CD, Limited Edition formats
  • Identity for the 50 year celebration of The United Nations
  • Client: Identity for four high-tech theme parks: Korakuen. Entertainment complex in Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Research interests

Creative Fellowship Research Project: A Practical Exploration of Creative Thinking Systems

The purpose of this study was to design and implement a Module programme of Creative Thinking Systems (CTS) for second year students within the College of Arts & Humanities. In addition to convergent and divergent thinking techniques the students were also taught numerous dharana meditation practices, as an attentional mechanism to support creativity. A principle aim was to identify the most effective ‘Creative Thinking Systems – both discipline specific and cross disciplinary within the School of Art in order to enhance and evolve current BA teaching and learning practices. This study was conducted from 2009 to 2015. Six cohort groups, (n = 93) students completed the programme. Findings were collated from Likert scale questionnaires, module evaluation, assessment tasks and studio applications. Results suggest that the programme was beneficial in supporting creative idea generation across a broad spectrum of 12 disciplines. Dharana Meditation practices proved highly effective at alleviating stress and anxiety. These practices also heightened sensitivity and improved students attentional capacity.

 

Mixed Media Printmaking Artworks: The Enspriited Landscape

“The best things in life are free.” This was conveyed to me by a Great Aunt (a retired Head teacher) when I was a lad. It has resonated through my life, particularly via my connection to the Natural World e.g. passion for astronomy (observing the Andromeda galaxy), or immersing myself amid nature through past-times such as fishing, walking and wilderness camping. For me, Nature is a Green Tonic, a counter balance to the frenetic whirligig world of modern society.

The seed of my research area was cultivated by my late Great Aunt’s extensive knowledge of botany, folk tales, Celtic myths and nature poetry. Family walks were an education – a portal to ancient British culture and folk lore.

Both as a qualified Yoga and Meditation teacher (British Wheel of Yoga – 2008) and as an aspiring Druid (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) I have had the opportunity to deepen my sensitivity to the natural world. My printmaking artworks explore the concept of the ‘Enspirited Landscape’, where liminal times (dawn and dusk) and liminal spaces (edges of territory) become portals to deepen the connection with nature. Where the everyday becomes enchanted with a sense of wonder and awe. This is principally achieved through Yogic and Druidic meditation and ritual with the aim of cultivating an enhanced relationship with the ‘Genius loci’ – the pervading spirit of place. Through such techniques the practitioner is informed by direct experience, the process is a total immersion. One becomes hyper-sensitized to the rhythms, patterns and currents of energy that proliferate the natural world.

My creative practice and research interest is therefore to visualize and celebrate such phenomena through the production of mixed media printmaking artworks (which utilise a range of methods from screen-printing, collographs, monoprints and digital processes). The hand-rendered visual elements are synthesized from a diverse range of sources: from cosmology, Celtic myth, totem animals, bird flight, under-water plant forms, rock formations, found objects and folk motifs.

 

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Research Output 2003 2003