John Passafiume: Precision meets passion

An up-and-coming visual artist from Kentucky completed his senior thesis using only a Bic mechanical pencil

Topics: Imprint, Design,

John Passafiume: Precision meets passion
This article originally appeared on Imprint. It's part of Print magazine's annual New Visual Artist series that profiles 20 of the most promising rising talents around the world in the fields of graphic design, advertising, illustration, digital media, photography and animation.

ImprintBach’s “Art of the Fugue” would make an ideal soundtrack to John Passafiume’s meticulous, mellifluous lettering and illustrations. “The baroque tendency to embellish is now considered excessive, but it’s something I happen to take seriously,” Passafiume says. “With Bach, decoration and virtuosity gesture at an abstract whole. The pursuit of, and expression toward, beauty has a redemptive quality which has greatly influenced my own work.”

Age: 26

Senior Designer, Louise Fili Ltd.

From: Louisville, Ky.

Lives in: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Website: www.johnpassafiume.com

The Louisville, Ky., native garnered attention with his senior-thesis project at Indiana University, (Process), a massive, hand-drawn homage to, well, the entirety of aesthetic history. In his senior year, Passafiume suffered a rough bout of carpal tunnel syndrome, which led him to rely on a single 0.5-mm Bic mechanical pencil―the only tool he used to create the piece. At its center is a Paul Rand quote (“Without aesthetic, design is either humdrum repetition of familiar clichés or a wild scramble for novelty. Without the aesthetic, the computer is but a mindless speed machine, producing effects without substance”), which Passafiume says he chose because it “highlights the relational significance of form and content, and warns against a passive reliance on the computer.” (Incidentally, Passafiume received a congratulatory package of art supplies from Bic headquarters when they learned of his Adobe Design Achievement Award.)

Book designs for Rizzoli (art director: Louise Fili), 2011

You Might Also Like

(Process) poster, 2007

In his current position as senior designer at Louise Fili Ltd. he produces work―packaging, subway-poster campaigns, book jackets―that aligns seamlessly with the house style. “When I first looked at John’s portfolio, I was impressed by his fine-tuned lettering skills, obsessive attention to detail, and keen understanding of classical letterforms,” Louise Fili says. “I was convinced that he had the right head and hands for the job.”

Indeed, Passafiume’s drawings and lettering have absolute precision without snuffing out their liveliness. “For as long as I can remember, I have been sensitive to the quality of a line,” he says. Zoom in on the utterly analog (Process) and that much is obvious. He might as well be reflecting on the start of what promises to be a long and fruitful career when he says, “(Process) extends the question: Why? It’s about beginnings.”

Poster design for School of Visual Arts (designed with Dana Tanamachi; art director: Louise Fili), 2011

Postcard design for School of Visual Arts (art director: Louise Fili), 2011

 

See the other 2012 New Visual Artists:

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2012.

Salon is proud to feature content from Imprint, the fastest-growing design community on the web. Brought to you by Print magazine, America’s oldest and most trusted design voice, Imprint features some of the biggest names in the industry covering visual culture from every angle. Imprint advances and expands the design conversation, providing fresh daily content to the community (and now to salon.com!), sparking conversation, competition, criticism, and passion among its members.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>