Guyton and The X Factor

The intractable design v art debate may have become stale but it’s always intriguing to see what happens when artists become obsessed with the tools of the graphic arts.

For New York-based Wade Guyton, the letter X holds a lingering attraction. Shown here are four examples of Guyton’s “printer drawings”, made by feeding large sheets of linen through an oversized Epson UltraChrome inkjet printer, often incorporating scanned imagery or electronically-rendered lettering.

Guyton’s typeface of choice is ITC Blair Medium, originally issued by the Inland Type Foundry in 1900 but later revived by US type designer Jim Spiece for the International Typeface Corp. It’s a stark, clean typeface, ideal for Guyton’s method of setting a single letter (he also has a soft spot for the “U”) at an imposing size.

In earlier artworks, he has placed giant Xs over imagery sourced from design magazines and art history books, playing on the letter’s graphic function as a “crossing out”, a negation of what it is imposed upon. Part of the attraction of Guyton’s new X pieces, however, is the human error inherent in their mechanical production; what some designers like to refer to as “happy accidents”. Guyton’s cloth canvases often shift and snag in the huge printers, the over-printed inks becoming saturated or blurred to great effect.

The work will feature in Guyton’s upcoming show at the Friedrich Petzel Gallery (in collaboration with the communications agency Black Frame) in New York in November.

Guyton’s show will be at the Friedrich Petzel Gallery from 13 November until 15 December. See for more details.


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