August 4, 2010
Kandinsky on Art and Spirituality
Today you see artists exploring beautiful design but also bringing into thier work a sense of moral obligation to sustainability and higher purpose. It has been a few generations since artists have had such a higher calling to their work. The minimalists were probably the last influential group that sought to bring a sense of spirituality to their work. Unfortunately it lost some of its humanity in the process. The abstract expressionists were similarly inclined but most of them died early and were tortured by their internal search for meaning. The Bauhaus artists though seemed to create a positive approach to the spiritual in art. Kandinsky among them sought to find the music of the spheres in the visual arts. Here is a link to his seminal work "Concerning the Spiritual in Art"
The work created by these forward thinkers pushed modernity to the fore and has even informed much of post modernism. Its a pretty awesome read.
January 20, 2010
Charles and Ray Eames continue to fascinate designers because of their unique genius and exquisite sense of design. They were able to synthesize the convergence of new materials and new ideas into an array of design innovations that continue to provide inspiration to creatives world wide. They manipulated materials far beyond the practice of the day which was to push raw resources only as far as it was necessary to make them convenient and economically viable for manufacturing. Charles and Ray Eames played with materials, experimented with biometric shapes and redefined personal space in such a way that they single handedly humanized American design. They pushed past what was acceptable practice with innovations so finely wrought that they would always retain the flavor of innovation. Because they didn't create within the overarching formalism of that era, everything they created existed outside of established design and can never become stale. It is truly the formula for timeless design.
Here is a link to a fascinating TED presentation on this dynamic design duo.
November 14, 2009
Are you wishing that someone would put the cult back in culture? Well, the Museum of Arts and Design has me under its spell. This relocated and redesigned institution is wowing the design world and becoming the center for New Yorks' design set. The completely renovated new space (by Allied Works Architecture) is a feat of engineering and design. The wayfinding system, designed by Brad Cloepfil introduces a completely dynamic means of directing traffic. The space is opened up further by linear cuts in the floors and walls that allow the galleries to connect vertically. The museum is an interdisciplinary gallery space, learning institution, and cultural center all in one. If you are in New York, a visit to 2 Columbus Circle is de rigueur.
Back in Los Angeles and putting the final touches on the website. After having been in the south for 2 months it was a bit of culture shock to be back in such a large and unforgiving city even though it has been my home for over 20 years. Soon though, the familiar rhythms of the city have become familiar again. Being in a much more rural setting made me realize how inured I have become to the harsh texture of everyday life here. Although it is one of the greatest cities on earth, it also has some rough spots that I didnt really experience until I was removed from it for a while. As my life prepares me to travel more, I wonder how my perception of Los Angeles will change. For now I am still fascinated with its vibrancy and elasticity. It is not afraid of the New and for that it will always be an evolutionary powerhouse.
Another gem of the south, Durham N.C. is currently in the process of redefining itself as well. The industries of the past are giving way to high tech and bio research as well as academia. This influx of sophisticates is really having its way with the quaint structures that once housed the vast tobacco empire. Turning them into spacious lofts and trendy hot spots is really transforming this little metropolis. That renewal is spawning new construction and a renewed interest in what this town has to offer. I was blown away by the progressive nature of the people and the politics. In this small North Carolina town the city council voted unanimously to support same sex unions. How amazing is that. Not to mention the great vintage wall advertising in the photo above that has been carefully preserved. Watch out for this place.
My roadtrip through the south has turned up all sorts of surprises. The most surprising of those is Asheville N.C. Who knew this sleepy little collection of brick buildings and mountains would turn out to be such an artistic treasure trove. It must be the influence of Black Mountain College where Joseph Albers came to bring the philosophy of Bauhaus to the U.S. Downtown Asheville is an enclave of hippie culture and foodie restaurants just bursting with culture. The squares downtown are alive with musicians and even the shop signage is thoughtful and whimsical. The art galleries are full of local artists with world class sensibilities. Writers abound in this place where the air is crisp and cool and the mountains sing songs thousands of years old.
Happy Birthday America.
I am here in Florida with my family who surround me with love. One of my fondest memories as a child was exploring the creeks and rivers of this part of north Florida. The dark waters of black creek have a special mystique for me. I remember canoeing back behind Lake Asbury along Black Creek, discovering cypress forests and untold numbers of wild creatures. One that I never encountered, until this trip, was the Manatee. While kayaking the other day I came across a pod of Manatee that found me as interesting as I did them. They floated along side of my boat, turning over in the water and letting me scratch their bellies. What an amazing experience that was. This relative of the elephant was a gentle and curious creature and reminded me that I am connected to the whole of nature and not separate.
Producing a comedy show is a funny business.
Since school ended, I have been producing a benefit comedy show called "LOL for a Cause" with some awesome comedy talents like Leslie Jordan, Betsy Salkind and Bobby Lee. What an amazing endeavour! Creating the graphics, and stage set alone would have been enough but wrangling the talent, coordinating the venue and overseeing the technical setup have made this project a real challenge. In the end it was a huge success! The night was sold out! (people were sitting on tables) We raised over $3500.00 for local addiction recovery services. Big thanks to Richard Hayden and Dennis Duella. The highlight of my night was when my hostess and host Lotta Slots and Patrick Marks made me get up on stage and clean up after Betsy Salkind who did a fantastic impression of a squirrell eating a cracker. Needless to say, the people in the first row got a lap full of crumbs.
What the Future Holds.
Today I finished my last illustration for school and my last task is preparing for the graduation ceremony that will signal my emergence into the professional world. Who would have thought that this period of my life would whiz by so fast. In some ways I wish I had more time to stay in school and learn even more about graphic design and web design. Still, the most important thing I have learned at Cal State is how to learn. I know now that my learning curve is just beginning to take form. What is to come will be the largest part of my education. What's next? The possibilities are endless. I am taking some time to do an east coast road trip. Ill be traveling through the south and documenting what I find there. Rediscovering the south with new eyes and exploring my own new perspective. Who knows, maybe I will discover some new inner landscapes.
Installing my Senior Project
After tons of printing issues I finally picked up the completed images from the printer to find that all three copies are printed on photograpic paper instead of the heavy stock that I wanted and there is no time to get them printed again! I will have to make due with what I have. The other issue is that I asked them to leave the project untrimmed with some inches of white space because I am cutting out each image and turning them into folders that will contain the booklet and CD. Well, of course there is no trim and I will have to find a workaround. The space in the glass case is ample and I will have room to display 2 of the folders, one open and one closed. I will also have wall space to display the spreads from the booklet. Lots of work to do.
Crunch time (for me and the planet!)
Senior projects, illustrations, 3D sculpture and a website all due in 2 weeks. Its an exciting time and I have to say that I have learned more this quarter than I have in any previous quarter here at school. It makes me want to continue on to grad school in some ways but I am sure that the professional world will challenge me just as much (if not more) if I choose to take that route directly after school. For my senior project I have taken on 10 digital illustrations, a 10 page booklet and a resource guide about carbon emissions that required many hours of research about the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and the individual contributions to it by various countries throughout the world. I have also had to bone up on the possible solutions including carbon sequestration, solar power, hydro-electric power, and geo-thermal power. There is some exciting research going on out there and in some ways it made me hopeful about the future if we can turn the research into realities. Unfortunately, I also discovered that the untold story by scientists is that it is already too late to avert some very disasterous climate changes that are on the way. Still, with some big changes we can avoid the most catastrophic changes.
Charles and Ray Eames
MAD Museum NY
Back in Los Angeles
Durham lives on
Asheville and parts south.
Birthdays and summer days.
Comedy show heaven.
What the future holds.
Installing my senior project.
Crunch time at school.