Front Forty Press enlisted nine notable graphic designers to reinterpret the sonnet form through the language of design and photography. A sonnet is a dialectical construct that usually explores two contrastive ideas, events, emotions, etc. by juxtaposing carefully patterned rhyme schemes. Sonnets are fourteen lines long and come out in a variety of forms and variations. Each designer was provided a suite of photographic images from a category within the ‘built environment’. In fourteen pages (or seven spreads) each designers was then free to explore and meditate on their own relationship with this part of the landscape as they wished.
The book opens with New York based art director, designer, and new media artist Sebatien Derenoncourt’s vividly colorful and deeply personal response to the built environment in “Infrastructure”. Jennifer Brunner’s “Apertures” is a soft poetic exploration of light. She, like many artists in the book, utilizes imagery instead of written words to create her sonnet. “Construction” is a visually jarring concrete landscape littered with symbols of human greed and hints at the destruction that it brings. Nate Euhus cleverly simulates the vibration of new construction for the viewer through his bold designs. Bob Faust’s take on “Roads” is more of a fantastical optical illusion than a clear route. A dizzying journey through the art of Dominy Edwards depicts “Pathways” in their many forms. William Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXVII provides the base to her piece. Russell Lord’s graphic approach to “Sprawl” reads like a mock propaganda piece for expansion. A variety of “Fences” are arranged by Max Havlicek in a fashion that conveys a wide range of response, from nostalgia to suffocation. Esteemed designer Ann Smolucha captivates the viewer with her visual dissertation on “Electricity”. Beth Johnson delivers the last suite in her interpretation of “Restitution”. She vandalizes the built world with seemingly simple images that suggest a more complex need for atonement.
Sonneteer was conceived and produced by Doug Fogelson and designed by Russell Lord. The resulting collaboration is a 9” x 14” full color, perfect bound, 140-page book with essays by Russell Lord and Ingrid Rojas.
Edition of 2000.