Presented by the Graphic Designers of Canada Northern Alberta chapter, art director Malcom Brown spoke to a handful of designers last night about his past. As one of Canada's leading magazine art directors from the short-lived but much heralded I.C.E. magazine to work for ARTFORUM, AdBusters, Shift and basically any other "it" magazine, Brown is currently on contract as A.D. for Unlimited, a business magazine published in Edmonton.
Starting late and a bit slow with preparatory difficulties, Brown eased into his talk by getting into what he knows best: himself. An avid reader from the beginning, his early interests in stamps and his aunt's ration book continue on as influences for inspiration. After unceremoniously leaving art school following a spat with the dean (Brown broke a rule for how you should present a work, and in turn, the school massacred the presentation), he quickly climbed the ranks at CHUM TV, freelanced, and stepped into a magazine funded by a substantial private source with nobody to answer to.
The result is that Brown has carved his own path in graphic design, a field that's paradoxically as restrictive as it is artistic (not to mention competitive), and by knowing the rules, which are mostly standards held and not questioned, he has become a leader in his field. It is this sentiment that should be applied to all art forms, in the constant challenge to process, create, and distinguish a work that propels the form forward.