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5th Black
VIVA LA VECTOR proclaims one of Rinzen’s promotional
stickers, and it is clear that the Australian design collective
has internalized the motto. Following the success of RMX,
the project that brought them together, the five partners
are spreading their optimistically stylish line art far beyond
their Australian base.
RINZEN
2002
29
R
inzen is an obscure Japanese word meaning “sudden awakening, commanding,
or awe-inspiring.” As such it serves both as mission statement for this group of
Australian artists and as a friendly jab at the occasional self-importance of the design
scene. The group comprises five members: Steve Alexander and his wife Rilla, Adrian
Clifford, Karl Maier, and Craig Redman. Born between 1973 and 1978, they all entered
the profession at different times and worked for different employers, but during the early
to mid-’90s, all of them attended the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane.
E
VOLVING DESIGNS The five partners first collaborated as an escape from the
drudgery of their day jobs. Inspired by music remixing and the Surrealists’ “Exquisite
Corpse” concept, they adapted the technique for graphic design, reworking each
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Chimera Luxe, mural
Tapped to design a 23’
(7m) mural for the Tokyo
fashion store Chimera
Luxe, Rinzen engaged
in world building, creating
“a genetic melting-pot
theme courtesy of that
mixed-up mythological
fella, the chimera.”
2001
RMX Extended
Mix, book RMX
Extended Mix
documents Rinzen’s
second foray into
graphic remixing.
other’s pieces, then handing them to another member of the group to be augmented
again. They collected the results and dubbed the project RMX. Adrian Clifford
remembers: “At the time of the first RMX project, we were all deep in corporate design
projects for various clients and employers and felt the need to do a collaborative
project outside these restrictions—something spontaneous, free, fun, and tax-deduct-
ible. Each of us produced an initial piece for one of eight themes. The files were
then passed progressively to each designer, being remixed each step of the way—
modified, augmented, and erased—and no one saw the work before it was his
or her turn to remix it.”
“Remixes were handed over at the drunken weekly project meetings,
and at the end of the eight-week process the resulting 64 pieces
were compiled,” recalls Clifford. “The collection is a chaotic merging
of vector, pixel, and hand-drawn work filled with colorful and
repetitive design elements—some themes evolve gracefully while
others chop and change awkwardly.”
The pieces formed the basis of shows in Brisbane and Berlin and were later published
as a book. “It didn’t take long to see that what we had created together outside of
the world of monolithic corporate design was the direction we should pursue. People
responded to the genuine spontaneity and energy in the project and were happy
to see us apply that to more projectsboth commercial and personal,” says Clifford.
Rinzen’s decidedly contemporary ideas, as well as their refined use of color and
vector art, unites their body of work and gives it its modern presence. “Our work
is a response to design and culture,” says Clifford, “We see an opportunity to build
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