A Lesson in Creativity

 

Dan Eames is a multidisciplinary designer who recently graduated from Graphic Design and Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. From Edna O’Brien’s controversial, The Country Girls (1960), to a digital installation aimed at calculating and measuring happiness, satisfaction and contentment, to the traditional and long established idea of the Curriculum Vitae. Eames’ work concerns itself with diversity, technology, education and interaction. Striving to underpin issues that on the outside might appear as “uninteresting” or “difficult to engage with” Dan inevitably provokes panache from the perceptibly mundane.

In his final year of studies, Eames’ Verses for Country Girls project was created as a response to Edna O’Brien’s pivotal text, initially banned in Ireland by the Irish Censorship Board due to its brash confrontation with Irish society, womanhood and constriction. Using a church pew, a prayer book containing 33 verses, and a smartphone, Eames invites his audience to interact with this highly innovative piece. The purpose is to conceal passwords written by Caithleen, the protagonist of The Country Girls, to then access the web content, which provides a challenging and provocative exploration of Chapter 9 of the book. A chapter that tackles issues concerning femininity, sexuality, and morality.

Eames’ reinterpretation of O’Brien’s ground-breaking novel renders it more relevant than ever within Ireland’s current political climate and the world’s ever changing, fast paced technological advances. Verses for Country Girls was successfully submitted to the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD), the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) Future Makers Awards, and exhibited at the Shorelines Arts Festival in Portumna, Co. Galway in September 2017.

Another project, varied in subject matter but similar in context, is CV Sketchspace. Eames has taken an idea that has become unconsciously stale and flipped it to benefit both employer and employee. Upon interviewing Dan, he states that; “Through folding, tearing and doodling, it breaks from the traditional rigid CV template and invites the user to be creative and set aside any inhibitions around drafting a CV”. Taking inspiration from the children’s schoolyard idea of the fortune-teller paper-craft game, CV Sketchspace is used as a tool to boost both creativity and confidence, two key characteristics that are now significantly emphasised in the workplace.

Eames has developed a workshop based around his project, which was featured at the Transition Year Careers Day at the Irish Glass Biennale in NCAD Gallery. Though it was originally designed for young people in schools or emerging graduates, it can be moulded and applied to a broader demographic including Prison Rehabilitation programmes, professional social networks and recruitment agencies. Eames’ own experience with Ireland’s education system planted the seed for this project, manoeuvring his way through secondary school and third-level education with no real comprehension of his own skill-set. The use of this tool will lend itself to students as a driver for confidence, open-mindedness and creativity.

I think the layman’s perception is that a designer’s job is to make something more aesthetically pleasing, this is true to an extent, but it is definitely more encompassing to say that their job is to make something more accessible or comprehensible.

In his own words, Dan Eames’ “inspiration comes mostly from Irish subject matter, be that Irish literature, Irish design or just general Irish social issues”, and with travel and expertise with him in his future, Dan hopes to “bring home some new thinking, or to promote Irish wares on an international stage”.

Dan Eames is a recent graduate from the Visual Communication department at NCAD, he is now working as a graphic designer in Creative Inc. whilst pursuing his own educational research. You can follow Dan’s journey Behance and Instagram.

Words by Claudia Mannix.