Analog Week: Celebrating Traditional Art in a Digital World
“We’re going to be taking a week to get off of our computers” is not a typical phrase you would expect in a graphic design class, but at Arcadia, it’s become an anticipated event. Analog Week is a week that was created by the Graphic Design department during the 2020-2021 school year when learning was entirely remote. The professors, noticing the burnout of online school for both the students and themselves, dedicated a week to getting everyone in the graphic design classes off the computer to focus on a project of their choosing.
There are around 10 prompts to pick from, ranging from creating works based on a single material, making a series of tiny 2”x2” works, writing and illustrating a story, prepping a family recipe, learning a new craft, writing letters to the elderly, and more. And, of course, every prompt can have loopholes to fit what the artist wants to do. Each semester, the list gets tweaked and updated with new ideas for prompts.
I was first introduced to Analog Week last fall during my Intro to Graphic Design course. As a typically traditional artist, learning graphic design was a stretch for me at first and exhausting at times. Analog Week is always introduced before a school break to help transition us into a more relaxing break–each fall, it’s the week before fall break, and in the spring semester, it’s the week before spring break. I made a pumpkin bread recipe to share with my roommates and friends, and it was the perfect way to take the focus off of the computer for a week.
One of the best parts about Analog Week is it gives the professors a chance to see what kind of work their students are interested in, especially students who aren’t majoring in graphic design. While professors encourage us to use our other artistic skills in conjunction with graphic design, seeing what we are drawn to first hand provides more insight into us as artists.
This past spring, I made my favorite Analog Week project in my Typography class, where I painted a series of 2”x2” watercolor paintings of my friends’ eyes. Watercolor painting is one of my favorite creative expressions, but with balancing a busy school and sports schedule, I rarely have time to paint as often as I would like. Not only was it a fun series to paint, but it was also great to be able to gift my friends my artwork.
Though Analog Week was created experimentally to help during a remote year, it’s here to stay. If you’re more of a traditional artist and unsure about the graphic design program, or you just simply can relate to online burnout, just know the Graphic Design department is here to support you – there’s a whole week to prove it.