Thesis Thinking

This summer between my first and second years of grad school is supposed to be all about thesis thinking, making, reading, etc. Well here I am, almost halfway done with summer (gasp) and I’ve barely had the chance to sit down and think about thesis.

At the end of last semester we were doing some pre-thesis work and I started to hone in on ideas I might want to explore. One thing I started to think about was lost spaces and the history and stories behind those spaces. I stumbled across this flickr group and got inspired to do a few of these “Looking Into the Past” images around my neighborhood in the Mission District and at the old Greyhound station.

At the end of last semester I went to the San Francisco Public Library’s History Room and started researching long-gone places like Playland-by-the-Beach, the Sutro Baths, and Woodward’s Gardens. There’s something intriguing about these funky old amusement-park type areas that no longer exist, but are remembered fondly. I like to think about what it was like to take the train out to Ocean Beach to the Sutro Baths, how everyone had to wear the same woolen bathing suit. Woodward’s Gardens, a museum, zoo, aquarium and all around amusement park in the late 1800s, used to be right smack in the middle of the Mission District, spanning 13th and 15th streets, between Mission street and Valencia. Just the old pictures and ephemera surrounding these spaces I could spend hours poring over.

Using gouache, an old map, and found typography I created some poster-type things for each of the three locations I’d researched. It is just a jumping off point, but I’ve got to get the juices moving somehow.

A few things I’m currently mulling over for my thesis is the idea of narrative, lost spaces, folklore, mid-century children’s book illustration, and typography. Now how to turn those things into the big thesis question that I will then answer…

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