Week 5 // Artist Conversation: Ralph Acosta

Exhibit Information

Artist: Ralph Acosta

Exhibition: Relax: Reimagining Los Angeles International Airport

 Media: Mixed Media, Graphic Art Software, Video Camera

Gallery: Marilyn Werby Gallery


Graduating with a BA in general Studio Art and an MFA in Graphic Design at CSULB, Acosta presents his thesis exhibition. His original idea was to base this project on his childhood in Los Angeles, but instead was advised to be more specific. He recalls his memories of the Los Angeles International Airport back in the 60’s and 70’s. His passion for airplanes naturally led to LAX becoming his favorite place to go as a kid. Back then, people recreationally visited LAX to watch airplanes take off and land. RELAX was inspired by Acosta’s childhood memories of one of the most famous airports in the world.


Acosta’s exhibition was based on what he remembers from the 70’s; embodying a retro-feel, yet still clean and modern design. He created a typeface, a few blue and orange-colored designs for airport signs (such as restroom, arrivals, gate, departure, and baggage claim signs), a video that would be played at waiting areas, and a demo of a plane-spotting app called Observa. Acosta’s love for planes prompted him to collaborate on this app designed to give travelers the opportunity to acquire detailed information about their flights, and the planes that they will be boarding. The patterns that inspired the typeface – which he named Runway Gothic Medium – are based on the former architectural designs of the airport and the geometric patterns of the runways.


Bringing back the iconic architecture and feelings of excitement to LAX were Acosta’s main objectives in creating his yearlong project. Before the constant dread that we all feel when going through arrivals and departures in LAX, the airport used to simply be a fun place to go. With his new design ideas, Acosta hoped to bring that atmosphere back to his favorite place as a child growing up in Los Angeles. He believes that LAX is one of the worst airports in the world, therefore, he worked on and introduced RELAX to bring unity to the eight terminals that make up the airport.


Being someone who travels not too often, Airports have always given me a sense of excitement. I’ve always aspired to travel the world so naturally, a new concept for my home airport caught my eye. I appreciate Acosta’s ideas to help improve travelers’ experiences in the airport and am very much drawn to the typeface and sign designs. Bringing back the relaxing feeling of being in LAX is a certain plus for California residents and surely for people around the world who come to visit the famous state and city.



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