January 28th, 2013
I have been thinking wrong. Exploration A is all backwards, with the ideas and brainstorming coming before the opportunity, audience, and customer. I feel a bit like I have put my cart before the horse. This feels more like art than design. I like it.
This process has been much more similar to creating art than my heuristic biases for design. I have a fine art background with a BFA painting, and I often blur the lines between design and art. They are two facets of the same stone.
This week, however, I have felt absolutely no difference between the two. It is refreshing and such good time. I really enjoyed my map making, though I ran out of time. I wanted to do so much more illustrative work on it, but the process was enjoyable and enlightening.
I also appreciated working with Will. He is a smart and amusing designer, and I felt like I could have spoken with him much longer. It made me long for closer proximity to my classmates, since I would have loved to have hung out over coffee on this project.
January 26th, 2013
I believe that I have been “thinking wrong” and confronting my heuristic biases in this exercise by starting in medias res with brainstorming and mapping coming before the brief, so to speak. Ordinarily, I have a need that requires a solution before I enter into the research/brainstorming/mapping process. This has impacted my process of exploration because my imagination can go further. I have no reality or concentration point to refer back to. To evolve from process to, essentially, the beginning is freeing and a bit like a Rorschach test. Here is a bunch of stuff: what can I pull out of it?
Because I am in school, I have the freedom to “think wrong” and take chances, something that is somewhat difficult to do because of my professional work process. I have no brand management or defined audience or political concerns. I have no arbitrary, exterior, personal design preferences or branding/design guidelines to consider. It’s anarchy! Really, it is much more fun to design this way.
January 20th, 2013
Even purely formal work needs to consider function simply because all media has formal qualities that cannot be ignored in order to be sustained. Is something archival? Will the media last? Do multiple media work together? Do they create problems through chemical interaction; could they be toxic when combined?
I opine that one cannot have one without the other. Form and function are two sides of the same coin, yin and yang, dark and light, matter and void, Jedi and Sith—you get what I mean.
Take, for example, Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper, circa 1495, located in Santa Maria delle Grazie Church, Milan. It is arguably a purely formal work, but its functional qualities have resulted in deterioration that commenced shortly after its completion. An image cannot function if it is not sustained. The responsibility now falls on preservationists—protecting everything from atmosphere to lighting—to sustain this work of art (Castiglioni).
“Project: Leonardo Da Vinci – The Last Supper.” Piero Castiglioni. Piero Castiglioni, 1995. Web. 20 Jan. 2013. <http://www.pierocastiglioni.com/projects/84/lultima-cena-leonardo-da-vinci>.
January 20th, 2013
Where is my playground? I am considering this week if I allow myself enough play time. After watching Rob Forbes, of Design Within Reach, speak about Havana, Cuba as his playground, I have been wondering where I can go to play.
Several times, I have attempted to complete The Artist’s Way. Most of me feels that this 12-step program for artists is a lot of kumbaya-feel-good-whoo-ahh, and a bit creepy, but it does have some great ideas and forced discipline. One of these self-imposed actions is the commitment to artist’s dates, which are outings that one goes on with oneself only, and the date can be anything that is outside of one’s normal activities. The author, Julia Cameron, writes of the importance of restocking one’s pond—like a fishing hole—of creativity. This element of the program is one I have taken to heart. It also gives me an excuse to try new things in the name of necessary fueling of my creative reservoir.
The need to re-energize is a vital one, particularly for creatives who give so much of themselves in their processes. I can find these restocking venues all over the place: public gardens, independent shops, the library, farmers markets, the woods, busy streets, microcosm neighborhoods in cities—like Chinatown or Little Italy, markets, museums, ruins, junk shops, Ikea, Anthropologie (love the full-out installation displays), dumps, Pinterest … the list goes on. However, I do not know if I am taking the full opportunity to play.
In many ways, my approach to any potential play experience is the deciding factor: do I allow myself to observe and appreciate? (My sister and I have a joke about that: we call or text each other and ask, “Are you appreciating?!” We send photos on our phones of foliage or the sky or a funny traffic pattern.) Is observation and appreciation the same as playing, though? Is it enough?
Since my son was born almost five months ago, I have been hyper-attentive to appreciating his every moment and change. I know it will be fast, and I know it is all precious and that I will want to experience and remember it all. Because of this, I have put aside my camera for much of it. That seems counter-intuitive to others. I take photos, and I want to record his babyhood, but I am afraid of experiencing my life through a lens.
So much of contemporary life is obsessively documented and displayed that I fear that we are not experiencing it. From social media to reality shows, everyone has a sense of miniature celebrity. Acutely aware of this, I want my son, and my experiences with him, to avoid being documented and mythologized. My husband and I decided before his birth that we would protect him from an online presence until he was old enough to make that decision for himself. We do not post photos of him or use his name online. This frustrates distant friends and family who want a regular stream of Facebook albums documenting his every moment.
There is the factor of mindfulness and being present, and I work at that, but I am not sure if I am making the most of playful opportunities. In my life, there is a lot of opportunity for playful moments with friends and especially my husband—I am surrounded by creative and funny people who are fun and playful and often child-like in thought and action. So play is nurtured. However, I think that I could do more to proactively nurture play in grander ways. I would like to grow my play opportunities.
I do not yet know what those opportunities could be or how I will nurture them just yet, but I am committing to it.
January 10th, 2013
For the past few days, since reading and viewing video for my Graphic Design Methodological Practice course, I have been observing my heuristic bias trying to get an idea of what I am doing as an observer rather than the do-er. I am my own little experiment.
So far, I am realizing that I do indeed shepherd myself to safer right thinking, but I have only been following my subject during week days as she grapples with conservative in-house design. (Though I had a bit of an out-of-character challenge with a potential collaborative vendor who is to be working with us for some videos. He wants things slick; I started quoting Saul Bass. It’s as daring as things get in my current position.) I do play it safe for the 9–5, though I have had some good results when I have chosen my battles. My true creative journeys occur in freelance projects, personal projects, and teaching.
So, after the weekend, I may have a more holistic view of my hairball, as John Bielenberg calls it. On the weekend I am free to be all care-free and daring.