The aesthetic of our built environment depends on the graphic tools we use to communicate. In lieu of real communication and real community, road signs tell us where to go, and logos tell us if we belong there.
I am most interested in how often these tools fail us. We are surrounded by examples of this failure: graphics, street markings, and business forms that are wholly unsuited to the function they were designed to perform. Someone is responsible for this failed connection, and for the poor decisions that led to it.
To me, these failed attempts to communicate graphically present a poignant metaphor for our struggle to communicate with others at the interpersonal level. This metaphor fashions the conceptual and formal ethic behind my creative work: I manipulate the visual culture of our time, twisting and tweaking contemporary graphic language to explore issues in society, politics, and culture.
R.L. Tillman is an artist, educator, and researcher based in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2010, R.L. joined the full-time faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art, where he teaches courses in the practice and history of printmaking.
R.L. has exhibited his art throughout the US at sites including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Contemporary Museum, the St. Louis Center of Contemporary Art, and the Kansas City Art Institute. He has shown his work internationally as well, including as an invited participant at the 12th Print Triennial in Tallinn, Estonia and the 3rd IMPACT Print Conference in Capetown, South Africa. In 2008 he co-founded the award-winning website www.printeresting.org, where along with his fellow editors, he has produced several exhibitions and publications about contemporary print practice.
He has been a guest artist or guest critic at many educational institutions, including The Rhode Island School of Design, The University of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Columbia University, San Francisco State University, and Kent State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of SGCI International.
R.L. received an MFA in Printmaking the University of Iowa, where he was an Arts Fellow. He graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in art and political science.