Of all the topics in the world, Semi-Permanent began in Wellington today with "airline spew bags" courtesy of Sydney-based typographic wunderkind Gemma O'Brien.
Gemma's penchant for artefacts of puke arose from being bored on a plane (bound for Antarctica!) when, as a designer does, she went searching for the nearest paper and penworthy surface.
The debut design saw the nearest sick-bag blazoned with 'Fully Sick' and then blogged for amusement. Subsequently Gemma has taken the meme further into mock titles akin to many a recent trending phenomenon on Twitter,s giving rise to: Pukes of Hazzard, Bile High Club, Queasy Like A Sunday Morning, Land of the Rising Lunch (en route to Japan) et al.
Originally from Mt Glorious, Queensland, Gemma's road to font obsession was sealed when she first had the hands-on experience of physically setting type and took off from there.
As a student she gained notice early through her blogging, then through a video clip turning physiology - the skin of her body - into a site for her own hand-scribed typography. This caught attention from Germany, leading to an invitation to speak at TYPO Berlin 2009 from which she hasn't looked back.
In line with a resurgence of commitments to deploy typography for its match to crafted authenticity, Gemma took her turn on the stage today to run through a portfolio of her commercial work and her private love affair with type design, carved out without being either a font designer or calligrapher.
Of current trends Gemma talked about the rise and rise of chalk. Her own most recent personal focus has been on "writing and memory, writing and why we still write... do we write to remember or write to forget?"
Not surprisingly wordplay has been core to Gemma's career. Indeed one of her takeaway messages is that "the great thing with typography is when you have great words to go with it".
With Te Radar as the MC for the event great words aren't in short supply. In his welcome and opening to a packed Embassy theatre Te Radar evoked the sentiment that Semi-Permanent is about celebrating people who take a 360 degree perspective to everything they do.
Semi-Permanent's progression of global design talent continues today and tomorrow. The hashtag is #SPWGTN
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