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All Access by Stefan Bucher

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Job no:81378-5 Title : RP_All Access (New PB Verdions) Client : Pro-vision
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I
grew up as a third-generation Japanese American sansei in Hawaii on the island of Kauai: very rural,
country, small-town. Hard work, education, and achievement were central beliefs in my family.”
Hori’s father worked as a surgical technician, his mother as a nurse at a dispensary. “Dinner
conversations often involved descriptions of surgery, trauma, laboratory procedures, and disease.”
Accordingly, Hori was primed for a future in medicine or science. “I was a science geek in high school.
As a sophomore, I did a National Science Foundation research project on testing toxicity of a local
soft coral toxin on lymphoma cells. As a junior, I did research with the Hawaii Heart Association,
sequencing a particular protein from bovine heart mitochondria—stuff that gave me a preview of what
might be ahead for me.”
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Hawaii. “I got as far as sophomore
pre-med when I took an art history course—Art 101—as a humanities requirement, and here is where
things radically changed. Art presented vistas I had never been exposed to. It was a totally alien activity.
This was part of its allure and excitement. More classes followed, and I found myself gravitating
toward graphic design, where a certain amount of precision and certainty was a necessary part of
the process. Also, there was the prospect of commercial and practical application that minimally
placated my parents’ concern of self-support and future livelihood.”
But the initial excitement didn’t last. “I made it through to the last year of the design program and found
myself with a kind of buyer’s remorse. The excitement and expressive potential I had initially latched
on to were slowly being reduced the further I progressed in the primarily Swiss-based program.” Instead
of finishing the final year of the design program, he switched his major to photography and finished
his degree in 1987.
After a youth spent preparing for a future in medicine,
Allen Hori discovered art and went on a journey of learning
that would lead him from Hawaii to Michigan to Holland
to New York and from design to photography and back again.
ALLEN
HORII
1
1982
+
1999 NOW
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Job no:81378-5 Title : RP_All Access (New PB Verdions) Client : Pro-vision
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HE MAINLAND “It took seven years to earn my BFA and realize that getting to
the mainland—out of Hawaii—was essential and that continuing school was
probably the only way I was going to find a larger landscape.” He continued
with independent studies in photography at the University of Hawaii until 1987 and
got a job to make ends meet. “I worked as a ‘camera lout’—operating a stat camera
at a typography house called The Other Type. I moved up to paste-up artist and
finally to designer. After three years of this, I applied to graduate school in graphic
design, returning to the commercial and more-bankable-than-photography route.”
To his delight, he was accepted into the program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art
and moved to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
C
RANBROOK Hori was immediately fascinated with the school. “This was
graphic design like I had never seen nor imagined. It involved theory, thinking,
commitment, analysis, experimentation, and, for me, continuing with making
photographs as well. I realized graphic design could be read in much the same way
that photography could be read—this was the first most liberating moment—where
typography had the power to communicate more than the actual words it represented,
where additional meaning was formed on the intentions of the designer.”
The second year was dedicated entirely to producing designs. The experience had
a lasting impact on Hori’s aesthetic. “Making work, experimenting with thresholds of
1987
27
1988
28
1989
29
1982+
AIDS Matrices, spread from Émigré 10 While at Cranbrook, Hori had the
chance to design for Émigré magazine—“Lots of bitmap, very little assimilation
or integration of type, typography, and image.”
Sutural Rupture, spread from Émigré 12 “This issue was about stripping—
mechanical lithography in the offset printing process. I took it to mean, among
other things, the stripping or unlearning of convention and tradition in design,
becoming new and naked at Cranbrook.”
Fiber Content, exhibition
catalog “This piece is still one
of my favorites. I played with
the word progression content>
contain>containment. The
catalog assumes to be a card-
board box while the graphic
elements describe the change
in form through forces of
constraining containment.”
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