Basmati Freddie

Posted by Mattiel on December 23, 2013

As a DesignLab intern this fall, I’ve been given one or two creative projects to complete each week. Through a process of challenges and critiques, our creative director, Ron, does a wonderful job strengthening my work during these assignments. Needless to say, I was thrilled when he asked me to design a billboard. Impressed by the other billboards brought to life by our team, I wanted to come up with something fun and different for the first billboard of my design career.

During initial brainstorming, I was walking to class through the streets of downtown Atlanta. In those 15 minutes, I challenged myself to list the first ideas that came to mind, and to throw out the boring ones. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it came to me:


I hurried home after class and researched crafts with colored rice. I also discovered the term “Rangoli,” a form of Indian folk-art used during festivals and special occasions. The beautiful patterns, colors, and detail-oriented work used to create these pieces made me wonder if I could actually finish one. With some rubbing alcohol, food coloring, and around 53,000 grains of rice, I got to work.

After selecting a palette of 10 colors, I spent the first day dying the rice to match different shades of brown, blue, yellow, and red. As soon as I started on Freddie’s head, I knew the project would take about a week to complete, but that it was going to turn out exactly how I had envisioned it.

It took six days, and as it slowly came together, I realized I was going to destroy this awesome thing.

After our photographer, Jason, got a shot of the finished piece, we had our fun and totally annihilated it. From this process of creation, completion, and destruction, I understood the beauty of analog artwork in its temporary state. To some degree, everything expires, and in the form of a million multi-colored particles, my hours of deep concentration were spilled back into the universe.


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