Cameron Ridgway

Postgraduate (Graphic Design)

About Cameron

Ajax Me in the Bathroom Dicki is the exploration into the forgotten gay language that is known as Polari, and its relationship between identity and language. From the work of Mid-Century Modernist designers and how this movement of design helped shape the visual narrative throughout my project. To using the Camp aesthetic of 1960s pop culture. The work employs mid-century modern design and traditional printmaking, done digital due to the ongoing pandemic, to express the funny, filthy, and ingenious language of Polari.  

Polari was a secret language never committed to print or trapped recordings. By rather by word of mouth. British gay men developed the eclectic, secretive slang at a time when society stigmatised them. Taking this, I asked myself frequently through the project “how do you take an oral form of language like Polari and turn that into a piece of visual work?” by the Ideas, visual imagery and connections, this project not only was a celebration the past British LGBTQ+ history through the likes of Typography and imagery but turning unabashedly queer. Taking Inspiration from Professor Paul Baker and his ongoing study of language and identity. And how his deep research on Polari, helped me to create a unique perspective into my project, while I pay homage to the reflection of a rich history of a highly regarded look into the contemporary gay culture of the 1950s and 60s. 

From the distinctive work of mid-century modernist designers such as Saul Bass to their immediacy, optimism, and visual playfulness. Or how Susan Sontag’s theoretical concept of the camp aesthetic came into my influence through the likes of Camp Television and its use within 60s sitcoms and pop culture, helping me to create the Polari Typeface. Being playful, quick & clever, 100% Pure flamboyance. Wanting the typeface to be a celebrating the past and present of typography and queerness, it was Inspired by Polari’s linguistic campness, from the Mid-century modernism movement, to 1950s – 60s sitcoms in pop culture. By picking up on this key aesthetics, all these influences formed together to create the Decretive serif font family known as the Polari Typeface. Or how this led to me research further and ending up inspiring the creation of hand-drawn characters from a sub-culture within a sub-culture. Using the influence of Hal Fischer’s photography to establish a running commentary on the visual coding of the gay Identity, and on how it was perceived first-hand for many during that time. All Capturing the inherent flamboyant themes of Polari. 

Play Video

Contact Cameron