Friday, June 15, 2007
~:T E L L • M E • A • R E A L • S T O R Y:~
Last night I had the opportunity to critique Hank's Design History class. I saw my first set of chair projects. The stories came alive as people spoke about their journeys of enlightenment. It was beautiful to behold. Inspiring and humbling. We ended somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 and though I was tired, I was wired by the time I reached the bed and therefore stayed up until 2:00, wondering what my own chair would look like had I been in that class.
The students at PC are like no other. They are asked to stretch open in more ways possible and then to stretch further. The PC program is unlike any other I know of. It was just awesome to sit there and absorb the insides of people. I felt enriched afterwards. Inspired. Enhanced as a person, as a designer. I was reminded about how important the story is. Hank always talks about storytelling. the projects that don't make it are the ones that don't have a story. The shallow ones without a point of view are the ones that sit on lonely shelves collecting dust. The projects that work are the ones that took work to get themselves there. They beg to be picked up and held. Touched. Asked about. These pieces require the viewer to consider their own stories.
All good art does that. Only the things that are real are worth sharing. Not that all your pieces have to be blatantly autobiographical. They don't. But in some way, they must reveal your personal experience, which requires one to pay attention to the world around them, react honestly to what they see or what they think their perceptions are, find the deeper truth, the real story, remain vulnerable, play and above all, gather your thoughts enough to share them with others.
I wanted to sit in just about every chair I saw last night. I wanted to cross all the bridges I saw. It all made me want to work.
When I took Design History from Hank, instead of chairs, we designed razors. My movement was Surrealism, which I didn't really appreciate until I began to explore it. After a quarter's worth of work, I produced what you see above. The sexually charged and ambiguous statement about femininity. I made a lot of students uncomfortable with that piece. Boy, did I have fun presenting it. "You have issues" one student said while shaking his head. But back to last night....
How lucky we are to have each other. Every piece we create is a gift. I can't think of anything finer than to be part of a community of workers who all want to do that one thing and to share the experience, that journey with me.
This life is hard. You get the crap beaten out of you at every turn. And it amazes me that we all have the power within us to create good anyway. That we can, through good design, tune out everything that doesn't matter, everything that clouds our vision, all the static and tension that prevents us from really knowing ourselves and really seeing each other - all that soulless crap that distracts us from the truth can be wiped away by one person who makes a chair worth sitting in, whose story is worth hearing.