Indiana Lawrence is a recent graphic design graduate from Central Saint Martins. During her final year, two projects, in particular, stood out for their social engagement and well-executed design; titled No Hoop and Agricultural Anarchy, Indiana discusses the ins and outs of these personal projects with It’s Nice That.
No Hoop revolves around the dilapidated, Argyle Square basketball court situated around the corner from the highly-refurbished, Central Saint Martins Granary Building. The project arose out of Indiana’s frustrations with the gentrified sterility of the recent NC1 development, “the area where CSM is, is like a weird dystopia, there’s not even a speck of dirt or litter as it’s this continually patrolled private space”, Indiana tells us. As a full-time CSM student, “there’s no cross-over with the local community… I was in a bubble, out of touch with reality”, Indiana reveals.
The full title of the project, How Do You Play Basketball With No Hoop? is a profound commentary on the fact that the community’s basketball court was in disrepair without a hoop whilst just down the road, multi-million-pound property developments shot up. Indiana credits the project’s success to “two guys called JB and Hamid who told me all about their lives in King’s Cross, introduced me to all their friends, let me take pictures even though it was freezing… They were at the court near enough every day, before and after college… In an area like King’s Cross where you literally have to spend money to spend time, it’s such a vital space.”
Inspired by Ed Ruscha’s typologies and Becher’s water towers, Indiana captured a series of portraits focusing on the hands of the local boys holding basketballs. The photographs highlight the finer details – “the lines of the hand, the cuts and scars, the worn surface of the ball, textures which tell stories, indicative of years of use”. Indiana explains that the series “acts as a protest against the neglect of the space, which is reflective of the care given to some of London’s youth”. Alongside the photographic series, Indiana produced a protest kit consisting of screen-printed T-shirts, stickers and a publication that all fit together in a hand-modified net bag.
Agricultural Anarchy is inspired by Indiana’s family friend Gerald, a local farmer in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, where Indiana grew up. “I got to know Gerald more, and realised he was actually an incredibly remarkable – and punk – person.” Gerald is an organic farmer and political activist against the use of genetically modified crops. Indiana revealed how “over the years he started protesting more and more against GM all over the UK, pulling mad stunts and getting arrested. It’s amazing to think that a farmer from a tiny corner of the nation, well into his 60s, is making such a huge impact all over Britain – and abroad!”
Indiana wanted the project “to show how incredible Gerald is, how people have certain ideas of what a farmer is and does which he completely goes against. You can’t stereotype Gerald, he’s a modern punk and farmer!” Agricultural Anarchy is a project that defies our inherent preconceptions as demonstrated by Gerald. Indiana asserts how “punk is all about DIY, about going against what you’re told to do or have to be and following your own beliefs with passion”.
As a continuation of Gerald’s punk attitude, Indiana made screen-printed patches to cover Gerald’s overalls inspired by the 70s punk aesthetic. The idea was to reflect the practitioner of such a hands-on job, “the patches were screen-printed with photos I’d taken on the farm, anti-GM illustrations and handwritten quotes from an interview with Gerald”. Along with the overalls, Indiana produced a hand-bound book to tell the story of Gerald’s various projects over the years, exhibited on a bale of straw at the Central Saint Martins degree show.
Indiana’s work is all about collaboration and exchange. She approached both projects mindfully, “seeking the subject’s input rather than being invasive and just taking… It’s really key to these kinds of project that it isn’t just you going along and being like ‘look at these people and their lives’; it needs to be a collaboration”. This respectful approach is seen in the thoughtful outcomes of both projects that embody the unique personalities that inspired Indiana. Consequently, Hamid always wears the T-shirts Indiana gave him and Gerald loves his new overalls — to Indiana’s delight, “that means the most at the end of the day, the projects portray their own experiences so to have their support is really meaningful”.
Indiana has a diverse array of upcoming projects. From working with Nike, to starting her own student t-shirt design competition Nice Tee, Indiana hopes to continue using design as a powerful tool for communication. “Graphic design puts me in a position where I can actually spread a message pretty far… I just try and make sure I’m doing things for the right reasons, and if I can help someone out on the way then that’s great. I have a lot of things I believe in but I don’t have the loudest voice for shouting about them so I use design instead.”
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