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A Peculiar Dictionary

Artwork date(s): 2016

Nika Campher


Medium: Digital print on 200 gsm matt paper. Found plastic toys
Measurements: 150 x 150
Edition: Unique

Category: South African Artists Book
Type: Codex
Sub-type: Artist as sole producer
Theme(s): Strange design. English words with bizarre spelling or strange meanings

Place publication: Johannesburg
Publisher: The artist

Reference note

The English language is meant to be humorous and here, it’s design is totally weird. Being a Graphic Designer, it is often possible for me to create things that are completely strange and out of this world using eclecticism and the overall combination of different mediums. We as creatives are regularly exposed and confronted with radical and weird ideas. That’s why we are so comfortable with the “strangeness” of the world. Feeding off of each other’s minds and swapping ideas with other creatives is what gives us the ability to create (in every sense of the word).

This project celebrates the ideas I have just explained. “A Peculiar Dictionary” was initially created as an extension of my self brand “A Peculiar Designer”. It celebrates me as a designer and gives the viewer a little insight into the strange inner workings of my mind. The objective of this dictionary was to showcase my ability to work with a range of different mediums. It is essentially a dictionary however it has a bit of a twist.

The inside of the dictionary showcases a whole bunch of existing English words that either have bizarre spelling or very strange meanings. There are two words for each letter of the alphabet compiled into a 15 cm x 15 cm perfect bound booklet. It looks fairly straightforward and simple on the outside (as a dictionary should) but the fun actually begins when one opens the book up. A combination of odd graphics and words is used to push this dictionary to the next level of weirdness.

In creating this dictionary I went through the process of melting and scanning plastic toys, combining this with the scanning and distorting of printed words and images. In doing so it would create a sense of confusion and possibly shock anyone who would open the dictionary. The name of the dictionary is also on the reverse side of the booklet (back cover) so the viewer is even more confused as to why the dictionary would page from back to front. The design, creation and combination of everything that is this dictionary is why it is called A Peculiar Dictionary.

It’s not only intended to celebrate me as a designer but also to celebrate the weird and wonderful world of Graphic Design, what one can do with this world and how it influences my thoughts and actions. The dictionary in the end is me, it doesn’t look like much on the outside, but once you open it up a whole new world is revealed.



Exhibition notesExhibited at: Booknesses: Contemporary South African Artist's Books. FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg. Curated by David Paton and Eugene Hon. 24 March - 5 May 2017.



Ref: DP17/68







Total images: 2


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