WIP – On Illustrator

Work In Progress

These are all the graphics I am using in my piece, I need to arrange them on the page, tidy them up and add typography. I have gone with a more graphic style over iconographic, although there are a few of those elements like the keys, latches etc.



Work In Progress


My process will be exploring the escapology of Houdini from his infamous ‘escape or die’ trick, ‘The Chinese Water Torture Cell’ or as Houdini called it the ‘Upside Down.’ Ironically Houdini wanted to disbar ‘spiritualists,’ whilst simultaneously engorging the art of illusion, without revealing the ‘process’ of magic and illusion. I want to sweep away the curtain shrouding the process of his ‘tricks,’ ones he hid behind a screen, whilst retaining the magic of Houdini’s craftsmanship, science and cunning behind the curtain.

Aesthetically I will communicate my process through appropriating and modernising Houdini posters, inspired by Art Noveau and Art Deco movements. My infographic will be inspired by color blocking, streamlined movement, geometric and askew shapes, cross-sections, fragmented figures. I want to focus on two processes

  1. The process and ritualism of illusion, tricking the audience to suspend their disbelief (in front of the curtain).
  2. The process of the technical escape from the UPI, (behind the curtain).

One is a psychological process, the other a practical step by step process of escapology. I want to emphasize that two ‘truths’ can coexist simultaneously, neither one has preferential treatment in its access to the kernel of the real. I want to communicate that the two processes above are both rituals practiced and repetitively performed to become almost like a spiritual mantra, despite Houdini’s cynicism on ‘spiritualism’.  I want to pair a story of magic, madness and two the fold nature of invention as creativity and fabrication, with the processes.


Work In Progress


Going through the process of trying to create my initial process has been quite the harrowing exercise, it is just too darn complicated to express psychological states, decomposing bodies etc and also the subject matter is way too grim (even for myself). I have decided instead to look at one of Houdini’s ‘escape or die’ tricks-the ‘Chinese Water Torture Cell’.  I will show the process of this escapology but will include information as in costume, props, stage construction, timing, water levels, oxygen levels, the personality of a escapologist, psychology of performing these feats etc. I will collate all the information out there about ‘how he did it’, to reveal the tricks of the man behind the curtain.

Communication Objectives

Work In Progress


With my processes I am looking at the internal/psychological process of grief and how it is externally manifested, juxtaposed to the external transformations of the cadaver as it is prepared for the funeral, and the subsequent internal process of decomposition. I will need to choose the key stages of each process, and those that are visually coherent and communicable.

I am going to be specifically looking at Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief published in 1969, so the infographics for my piece will be heavily influenced by 60s graphic designs e.g Saul Bass who used a lot of color blocking, geometric and askew shapes, fragmented figures– his designs were simple yet beguiling and uncanny. I want there to be a simplicity to quite a complicated process, yet to balance that with anomalous elements.

I need to create an intelligible movement to the following chapters in the processes

Pre-funeral process of grief and cadaver preparation

The two processes intersecting at the funeral

The post-funeral processes of grief and body decomposition.

The process of the cadaver will be simpler to communicate, as it is a uncomplicated path from above earth to under, which will be macabrely pleasing to communicate. The process of grief, however, being an internal process that manifests itself externally will be more complicated to visualize. I want to communicate that although they are different processes there are similarities, in that death manifests itself in the disintegration of flesh and of the cerebral state of those left behind. There is a sense of breaking down followed by transformation to both living and dead subjects. I am thinking of visually representing this in circular movements and shapes.

Chosen Process

Work In Progress

I am going to be looking at the process of mourning the death of someone + the process of preparing a funeral , while simultaneously the  process the dead body goes through in the funeral home, culminating in the funeral. I may also look at the process of decomposition the body goes through once it is in the ground. I like the idea of two processes occurring simultaneously concluding with an event that brings the two together. I am also slightly fascinated with the process of death, a reality that cannot be fully grasped, except through the livings imagination.