Javier Jaen /
The Lightning Bug and the Lightning

3 Day Design Masterclass
May 18–20, 2023
Vienna / Austria

In this masterclass with Javier Jaén you will work with tools and resources to stimulate the creative process. The workshop consists of short, theoretical and practical exercises, there will be discussions around topics such as the semantics of objects, particular concepts of semiotics, abstract concepts, words, expressive values of the image, analysis and synthesis, ink vs bond, others, composition, signs, meanings, etc. 

Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the ALMOST right word and the right word is really a large matter – ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." Ludwig Mies van der Rohe nodded and answered him, "God is in the details". Truman Capote, who was also there, wanted to add "A man who doesn't dream is like a man who doesn't sweat", and Fellini aimed "The creator had to retain a point of transgression", and "If there's one thing that's dangerous for an artist, it's precisely this question of total freedom". Thoreau looked at them and advised, "___". James Victore took this literally. "___". Milton Glaser wanted to put an end to the argument and reminded them about the last speck of the commandment: "Tell the truth". But Paul Rand was completely right: "Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated". 

Required skills:
Open for everybody.  

Required material:
_ Pencil and/or black marker
_ Between 10 and 20 small objects found, anything goes: Screws, marbles, pieces of cloth, candies, brushes, plugs, wires, diamonds.
_ Materials and tools you usually work and feel most comfortable with, whatever they are

Maximum number of participants: 13
Minimum number of participants: 10 *
Age limits: none
Course language: English

Early Bird: EUR 700,– (no longer available)
Regular: EUR 750,–

Ticket price includes:
Workshop fee (incl. taxes), soft drinks, coffee/tea, snacks during breaks

Need more info? 
Drop us a line:

> Register for this class / booking via e-mail

* Please note: the masterclass will only take place if the minimum number of participants is reached by April 18, 2023. Application is open until this date or until the class is fully booked.  


Javier Jaen

Javier Jaén (Barcelona, 1983) studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts in Barcelona, New York and Budapest. His professional activities focus on editorial illustration, book covers, advertising, cultural communication and self initiated projects.

He has worked for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Time, Harvard University, National Geographic, Greenpeace, Penguin Random House, Vueling Airlines, UNESCO, Camper, Netflix, Louis Vuitton, Harvard, MIT, Microsoft or Pedro Almodóvar among others.

Javier Jaén has taught at Istituto Europeo di Design, IDEP, and frequently runs workshops and lectures worldwide. His work has been recognized by AGI Membership (2015), Society of Illustrators (Illustrators 55, 56, 60), American Illustration (AI33, AI34, AI38, AI39), Print Magazine (New Visual Artist 2013), Junceda Award (2013), Gràffica Award (2010), Laus (Grand Laus 2016, Gold 2017, Silver 2018) D&AD Pencil (2017), The Society of Publication Designers (Gold medal 2018), Feroz Awards (2022) and Award OF Excellence in Illustration by the Society for News Design (2022). He has participated in exhibitions in New York, London, El Salvador, Seoul, Rome or Ciudad de México.
He also has two sports awards and a lifetime achievement honor as a comedian, but he didn't win them, he only designed the trophies. Don't let him fool you.

Jaén published a retrospective of his work exactly 30 years after his first tooth fell out. These two events are probably not connected at all. He has still not written a child, planted a book, or given birth to a tree. Everything is waiting to be done.

"I keep looking for exciting ways to explain stories, my own or others, and for new languages that are as stimulating for me as for everyone else. I make John Baldessari's mantra "I will not make any more boring art" my own. Everyday I doubt more. I think certainties lead nowhere. Or maybe they do. I have no idea."
– Javier Jaén

The AOMC Masterclasses are brought to you by Atelier Olschinsky 
Atelier Olschinsky Grafik und Design OG · Währinger Straße 68 · 1090 Wien · Austria