Lydia Harden Bull Ditto

  • Tauira / Student
    Lydia Harden Bull
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Katie Kerr, Tatiana Tavares

Bootlegging is a way of reproduction that borders on the line between originality and counterfeit. A bootlegged object aims not to copy existing pieces, only to creatively appropriate brands, mimicking the original but making it the creator’s own, resulting in a unique product.

“Ditto” is a publication that explores bootleg in pop culture from a sociological and artistic perspective. It does this by collecting writings showcasing different instances of bootlegging in toy figurines, film and fashion. The articles discuss the positives and negatives of this style of making, and what it brings to society generally. To accompany this, “Ditto” explores the unique visual aesthetic of bootleg items through illustrations, photos and type design. The use of child-like cartoons and imagery mirrors the universal ritual of redrawing cartoons as a child, the first steps to learning to draw.

This publication uses a variety of different methods of reproduction. Without the ability to copy this book would not exist. Redrawn designs in crayon and scanner-to-risograph printing created multiple layers of interpretation leads to subtle abstraction. “Ditto” became a personal journey of showcasing underrepresented aspects of design and art. To appreciate the self-produced and handmade goods that come from an economic system built on exclusivity.

At first glance, “Ditto” aims to be a light-hearted experience, highlighting a niche love. The sense of recognition in the images evokes a feeling of early 2000’s nostalgia and representation for a unique human experience. Dig deeper and you will find it can also be a refreshing angle on modern-day consumerism. Bootleg culture has always existed and is a critical part of human nature, running parallel to mainstream goods and media, operating from the shadows.