Week 5 | Artist Conversation: Ralph Acosta

Ralph Acosta is a graduate student at Long Beach State, pursuing a master’s degree in the School of Art’s Fine Arts program. For this particular exhibition, Acosta drew inspiration from his childhood memories at the airport. Acosta had explained that while he wanted his exhibition to really illustrate these memories from his childhood, he wanted to be able to focus in on one particular part of it. He chose airports in particular because out of all the things that he remembers growing up, airports seem to be especially vivid to him.

The concept of his exhibition titled “RELAX” is essentially a re-imagination of the Los Angeles International Airport. Acosta was able to create a new font that would be used for the signs around LAX that he calls “Runway Gothic Medium”. This is the font that is used for the signs that he created that would be used in this re-imagined LAX. Acosta created a grid system inspired by the geometry of the airplane runways at LAX, and with this grid system was able to come up with the basis of the font, hence the name “Runway” Gothic Medium. In order to display these fonts, Acosta used vinyl transfers to give a visual display of what would be used in the airports. He used the general color scheme of blue and orange for the signs that he created to achieve a very retro feel. Not only was Acosta able to come up with a font design, but he was also able to put together a video that would be displayed above check-in and security lines at the airport, to give passengers something soothing to look at while waiting in line at the airport. Acosta used actual information and statistics about airplanes and airports in the video, which has a very soothing and relaxing feel to it. Another big part of the exhibition was the display of the demo app that Acosta created, titled “Observa”. The purpose of this app is to allow travelers to track their flights in detail. The app allows travelers and their loved ones to get information about flights, such as when a plane will land and leave as well as where a plane is when it is en route. The demo app is featured in a slideshow of pictures in the exhibit. 

The point of Acosta’s re-imagination of LAX is to create an LAX whose design is much more cohesive than what it currently looks like. Because the airlines in LAX are all separate companies, all of the gates are designed very differently from each other. Acosta’s ideal LAX is a more standardized design of the airport that gives off a very practical feel, so that it’s easier on passenger’s eyes and overall airport experience. He sees the current LAX as one of the worst airports in the world, and believes that a standardization of the airport will allow substantial improvement.

As a frequent traveler, I definitely appreciate the concept of a simplified LAX. Many people know that the airport has to be one of the most stressful places to be, this airport in particular especially. I love the concept of redesigning the airport to improve the experience of having to be at the airport a little bit more relaxing, just because flight travel can definitely take a toll on someone. The idea of the Observa app also interested me, just because while it was also visually pleasing, it was a very functional app.

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