Piet Parra - Weirded Out
Nominated by Erik en Ronald Rietveld:
Piet Parra
for Weirded Out

We nominate Piet Parra’s Weirded Out, a huge mural at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that stretches the boundaries of Parra’s own ability and of graphic design itself. Weirded Out is the result of a prodigious imagination and a unique style.

Few other designers employ such a recognisable visual language as Piet Parra, aka Pieter Janssen. The designer began as a draughtsman and has gone on to push his capabilities further and further in unusual collaborative projects – fantastic video clips; his own line of clothing; virtuoso live drawing performances during gigs of his successful band, Le Le. On the one hand, Weirded Out exemplifies Parra’s oeuvre, with a world of craziness executed in an attractive graphic/typographic style. On the other, this mega-sized black-and-white work expresses the power of Parra’s visual language in full.

Parra stands out in the design world as a multitalented figure who combines illustration and typography effortlessly with pursuits such as music and fashion. His independent projects and commissioned work run together. Weirded Out manifests a new step in Parra’s development. The mural is approximately twenty meters long, and we believe it has the potential to be developed into a work spanning the entire length of the US-Mexico border. It is a story comprised of an endless fantasia of characters, fonts, music, rhythm and fashion that appears to have emerged from ghosting about in Piet Parra’s head to express itself in a compelling work.

Parra consciously chooses to pursue studio projects as well as commercial assignments. We chose Weirded Out, one of his more autonomous graphic works, because his urge to experiment is one of his chief strengths. In an age that commercialises knowledge and skill, Parra’s studio work in particular suggests talented young designers in various disciplines should first of all experiment, guided by personal areas of fascination, and develop their own styles as far as possible. Only thereafter should they seek applications and possible commercial goals. “I don’t know if there’s a market for what I do,” Parra has said. “Really, you have to create one yourself.” Parra is setting an example for the young generation: start with your own dreams, skills and fascinations and the rest will follow.

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