30 Gridz Series

The 30 gridz in the series were drawn in a relatively short period of time.  The most time consuming part of the project was actually analyzing the gridz and writing about them because exploring the source of each grid was imperative in this project (see Introducing Gridz for concept background information).

Even though all 30 gridz follow the same guidelines and limitations, they were created with different approaches. The series can be divided in two phases: the experimental (1~14), and the intentional (15~30).

Experimental (1~14)

These gridz were created with a more intuitive approach and without having a concrete initial idea.  There was a lot of copying and pasting involved as well as repetition and mirroring.  Another general characteristic of the first 14 gridz is that they are more dense in their design.  They take up more space because they were created in a less thoughtful manner than the rest.  This is mostly due to the fact that this was an experimental phase in which I was becoming familiar with the medium and just "going with the flow" to create something, not necessarily knowing what.

Intentional (15~30)

A very noticeable change occurs when moving to the last 15 gridz.  These gridz are less loaded and seem to deliver a clearer, more instant message.  This is because during the 2nd phase I focused on having an initial idea or feeling to drive the creation of the grid and using only the lines I felt were truly needed.  This resulted in a much cleaner design.  There are a few gridz in the experimental phase that display similar characteristics, but these were mostly accidental--a more minimalist style clearly dominates the 2nd phase.

A note on descriptions and photographs

All pictures were searched for and obtained after having drawn all gridz.  Some of the results are very interesting and raise the question of whether the source of inspiration was subconscious or just purely coincidental (such as Grid-12, Grid-14, and Grid-25) due to the strong correlation between the grid and the found images.


I dedicate the 30 Gridz Series to my father, Celso Barcena, who guided me though my first experiences drawing and thinking creatively and inspired me at a very early age to look beyond.  At about 6 years old my dad would sit with me at our photo studio in Mexico (family business) during slow hours to play a scribble game.  He would ask me to scribble on a piece of paper and then he would add a few lines here and there to magically turn the scribble into a bird, a dog, a clown, a landscape, or anything that would bring a smile to my face.  He would then take his turn scribbling and hand it back to me so I could have a shot at making something out of it... gridz are pretty much a continuation of this childhood game.

My father grew up in a poor rural area in Mexico.  He tells stories of going to a nun school and being excited when he found a piece of paper he could actually draw on.  The nuns at his school were were so strict that they made him draw a perfect line without a ruler, which motivated him to continue drawing.  As an adult he found out he was color blind when he lost his job with Coca-Cola for color-coding erroneously.  Still, he continued to paint and draw beautiful and colorful compositions for friends, family, and clients.  My father suffered a stroke when I was 10 years old and lost his sense of touch and ability to move his entire right side, so he learned to use his left hand to continue creating art.  My father is a poet, musician, artist, and a true inspiration, not only to me, but to many others that are fortunate enough to know him.


Celso Barcena (1970)

visual, gallery, art, design, gridz


Submitted by celsoiii (not verified) on
Thanks for sharing this dedication with us. Your description of our father ecoes my own memories of him. We were truly fortunate to have such a creative, smarty and driven human being as our mentor and friend.

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