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Mexico 1968 Olympic artist Lance Wyman praises Norwich art college

06:30 03 May 2012

American graphic designer Lance Wyman, the man who designed the Mexico 1968 Olympic posters, showcasing his work from the era at the NUCA Gallery in Norwich.
Photo by Simon Finlay

American graphic designer Lance Wyman, the man who designed the Mexico 1968 Olympic posters, showcasing his work from the era at the NUCA Gallery in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

A renowned artist famed for his Olympic work has praised a Norwich college for helping designers fightback against the onslaught of technology.

Lance Wyman, touted as the rock star of graphic arts, visited the Norwich University College of the Arts (Nuca) to mark the opening of a five-week exhibition featuring work throughout his career.

And Mr Wyman said he had been impressed by Nuca’s atmosphere and work with students, at a time when a graphic design re-think was required.

He said: “We are in a period where technology is taking over and designers are designing less. There has to be a re-evaluation of design and I have a feeling it’s happening here.

“I was impressed and I think some of the renovation and the atrium is lovely. It’s nice to have the light and space and it’s open space where people can be with each other - that’s great.”

The American’s notable and celebrated designs include the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games logo, the Washington DC metro map and signs directing visitors around the US National Zoo, in Washington DC.

Mr Wyman was also commissioned to design a commemorative stamp to honour Martin Luther King, following the death of the prominent civil rights campaigner.

He said people had suggested his work was “pretty simple stuff” but insisted plenty of hard work and thought went into each piece.

Sketches and early designs from Mr Wyman are included at the exhibition, alongside the finished works. You Are Here, curated by Finola Gaynor, is free to visit at the Gallery at Nuca, St Georges Street.

Mr Wyman said: “It feels good having the exhibition. There’s a lot of context. I’m familiar with the work but I’ve never put it all together like it is here.”

With the London 2012 Olympics just weeks away, Mr Wyman said he was “keeping his fingers crossed” for the event’s logo, which had proved to be controversial.

And he said he learnt a lot while compiling designs for Mexico 1968.

Mr Wyman said: “I was brought up in New York, I had an English history background and the only thing I knew about Mexico was they had pinatas.

“It was so eye-opening to see how good the designers were in the early periods in Mexico. They were really, really good and to build that into the work was a great opportunity.

“Background and history is different for every project. There’s so many layers you have to build in and history can make a big difference. If you do it well, it’s fine. If you do it badly, it’s stupid.”

Neil Powell, Nuca assistant principal, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to bits. It’s fantastic to have something so topical and Mexico 68 is probably the best remembered Olympics from the last 50 years.”

The You Are Here exhibition will continue until Saturday, June 9. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 12pm to 5pm, closed Sunday and Monday.

Have you got an Olympics story? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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