Often my approach to creative practice comes from an abstract conceptual space. My primary objective is to develop strategies, processes, and forms that avoid convention and embrace a more responsive, connected and expressive notion of design.
I hybridize photography, illustration and appropriated artifacts into complex and symbolic digitality collaged narratives (static and dynamic) that illustrate technological futurism along with sociopolitical themes. In an era of digital reproduction, I draw attention to our perpetual consumption and reuse of images and language, to the mutability of image and material in society. These acts echo the history of collage: from the work of the Dadaists and Constructivists that represented the disruptive forces of modernization in the early 20th century.
My process involves observation, collection and sorting through a wide variety of material—finding formal and contextual relationships. This investigation demonstrates my connection to the world, to understanding my own attractions and desires. I reinterpret and combine disparate imagery to form meaning and narrative. This process also serves as the background for my professional design work, and even ends up foregrounded through display and publication.
Typographic form has been a continued focus of study and thread throughout my practice. I am passionate about lettering and type, as well as the history and etymology of its use in written language. Typography can be cultural, social, expressive and relevant to its purpose. The relationship between the formal qualities of letterforms as well as semiotics and linguistics continue to fascinate and inspire me.
This fascination also involves the creation of letterforms as both traditional functioning typefaces to outside approaches done through abstraction and deconstruction. By taking something as implicitly known as the Latin alphabet and applying a completely new interpretation to their creation, perception and understanding—I hope to contribute new knowledge to the field of typographic research.
Michelle Bowers specializes in lettering and collage work that blends handmade and digital processes. She studied art and design at Cranbrook Academy of Art and The University of Arizona. She currently teaches at The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and has taught graphic design, typography and printmaking at workshops and college programs throughout the United States.
Her work has been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions and has been recognized by the TDC, STA, PRINT, Adobe, AIGA, SOTA, and the UCDA. Most notably her work is published in Typism Book 3, Making the Cut, Typo/graphic Posters, Lettering Beyond Computer Graphics and Graphic Design: The New Basics.