First things first, what the heck is a manifesto? Simply put, it is a public declaration of intentions. Okay, that sounds easy, but what does it actually look like? Below are a few classic manifestos which stood out to me in my efforts to understand what a manifesto ‘could’ be.
The Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
- An honest ego in a healthy body.
- An eye to see nature.
- A heart to feel nature.
- Courage to follow nature.
- The sense of proportion (humour).
- Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work.
- Fertility of imagination.
- Capacity for faith and rebellion.
- Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance.
- Instinctive cooperation.
The Designer: Dieter Rams
- Good Design Is Innovative
- Good Design Makes a Product Useful
- Good Design Is Aesthetic
- Good Design Makes A Product Understandable
- Good Design Is Unobtrusive
- Good Design Is Honest
- Good Design Is Long-lasting
- Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail
- Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly
- Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible
These two manifestos are timeless because they are both simple and to the point, no beating around the bush with these two! I’m particularly interested in ‘The Architect’ by Frank Lloyd because it relates and is relevant to more than just ‘the architect’, it relates to your average Joe.
Although these manifestos are great inspiration for writing a manifesto, I still wanted to find a manifesto that was relevant to what I see myself doing, street art. Since finding art manifestos was so easy, I thought finding a street art manifesto would be too, but I WAS WRONG! (caps because that’s how frustrating it was to find, or not find in the end, a street art manifesto) Moving on I thought I’d just look at some of the biggest names in street art and their manifestoes.
The manifesto by Bansky was a game changer, I’m sure, no surprise as most of his work is just the same. The honesty, the brutal honesty, the accuracy and the controversy in it, is him through and through out. This manifesto speaks to me not only because it’s funny but also because it clearly states the type of person the artist is, and gives an insight into their beliefs without him having to declare ‘I believe…’ (Something to think about when it comes to writing my own, do I want to be obvious, or quite encrypted). The poster design by Karina Nurdinova, 2012, is also very attractive, because it is such a well-known symbol, and relates back to the topic of the manifesto.
“The first aim of phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment. The obey sticker attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the sticker and their relationship with their surroundings.” OBEY GIANT
Just like Banksy’s manifesto, Sheppard Fairey’s Manifesto clearly states his intentions as an artist but in a more simplistic approach. This manifesto completely focused on the artist as a practitioner. (Again more questions to ask myself about how I want to approach my manifesto).
Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography (1943). Pomegranate Communications
Karina Nurdinova. Banksy Manifesto. Retrieved from http://marketingforhippies.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/bansky-bottle.jpg
Obey Giant: Sheppard Fairey. Manifesto. Retrieved from https://obeygiant.com/propaganda/manifesto/
Sophie Lovell. Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible (2011). Phaidon Press (2011):