Interview with Christopher Scott: Ecuador Poster Bienal
Ecuador “should be one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to design, [because it] marks the middle of the world, and is therefore the centre spot where all inspiration, knowledge and creativity should meet,” it says on the Ecuador Poster Bienal’s website. Christopher Scott, graphic designer and professor at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial in Quito, has started the poster biennial with a competition (↗ form 265, p. 35) in 2015 to promote the Ecuadorian design scene as well as to establish their importance internationally. The nominated posters will be announced on 31 July 2016 and will be presented from 25 September at an exhibition in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. We asked Christopher Scott a number of questions regarding the idea and creation of this new and internationally orientated design biennial.
Why did you start the Ecuador Poster Bienal?
I moved to Ecuador in October 2012 and I knew they had some good young designers like David Jimenez, Christian Lasso, Javier Perez, Mario Fuentes and more. So based on this knowledge I thought Ecuador has the potential to become a poster country such as Mexico and Poland. Through my experiences with the poster I was sure that I could create something special by connecting Ecuador and the poster. Two years ago when I was talking with my good friend and fellow designer Santiago Gómez we started to discuss creating a huge poster project. Many ideas were mentioned but there were two of them, which excited us. The first idea was the Ecuador Poster Bienal and the second idea remains a secret to be released in the future. Since the beginning of the last year we started planning to realise the Ecuador Poster Bienal.
In Ecuador design is not as important as it should be and whenever you do an event like this it raises the awareness of the importance of design and visual communication to the people. Also it gives opportunities for the Ecuadorian designers to rub shoulders with the best visual communicators from all around the world.
What is your goal?
The goal is to make the Ecuador Poster Bienal have a long history and to be considered to be one of the biggest and most important design events in the world. So far we have accomplished many things but to be honest it has not been easy because it is not so simple to create the first edition of such a project. However, I am lucky to have some of the best designers in the world as my good friends and their advice and support has been so important to this project becoming a reality. Right now we have an international jury that consists of many legends in the design world such as Jessica Walsh, Andrew Lewis, Luba Lukova, Lex Drewinski and many more. At the moment we have the gallery and auditorium confirmed and some of the conferences and workshops are also confirmed, but we are keeping everything a secret for now. In the coming months there is going to be many surprises and we cannot wait to share all the great news with all the people.
Which competition entries did impress you the most?
There have been two wonderful submissions that I am not ashamed to admit have left me with tears. Recently we received by post an original signed print of the Bob Dylan poster by Milton Glaser and also an original signed print of the iconic poster “Viva Che” by Jim FitzPatrick. For me personally, I have no words to say how that makes me feel that these two iconic designers believe in the Ecuador Poster Bienal. All I can say is that I am truly humbled and very thankful to Milton, Jim, the jury, our team and all the submissions we have received. The support of the design community to this project has been overwhelming.
Is there a difference between Ecuador and other countries in terms of poster design? Why is that?
There is a huge difference that is based on many reasons such as culture, politics, society, attitude to life and more. European posters tend to be more simple and less expressive. Latin Americans and Ecuadorians are more passionate in all the things they do and this reflects into their posters and design in general. Personally I love both styles and it is very interesting to observe both sides and how they develop and move forward into the future. One thing that is important for me is that designers should never try to be what they are not. Or as Stefan Sagmeister says: “A designer in Ecuador should try to feel as Ecuadorian as possible, because then the work will also be much more significant elsewhere in the world”.
What are you working on currently?
Currently I am a professor of graphic design at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial in Quito, Ecuador. So my time is currently shared between teaching classes at the university and working on the Ecuador Poster Bienal. I believe that teaching in Quito is a wonderful experience for me because I get to develop and grow the young designers of Ecuador that will represent the country in the future years.