1. Aoki Tetsuo‘s monochromatic people prints are simple and stunning. They make me think of times when we are surrounded by people but feel quite alone.
2. Gwenda Kaczor “whimsical yet moody” illustrations are gorgeous. I love details in work and since I find myself quite challenged in this free flowing feminine style, I am drawn to it even more. Her use of colour is soothing yet arresting. Her work always makes my day.
3. When I came upon Moscow-born Eduard Erlikh‘s work, it was love at first sight. Having always been fascinated by the control some magicians exert over watercolour, I am awed by the level of seemingly effortless detail in his work. I want to BE these illustrations.
We have been talking and thinking a lot lately about careers and jobs and opportunities. Call it a nearing 40 thing. What is it that I want to be doing? What is my calling? I like to use the word calling because it seems to serve a higher purpose than simply being someone who designs for a living. It hints at a life that is dedicated to making things more beautiful and by that virtue better. Design must be a life. It should dictate how you are and who you are, what you buy and what you choose to see. It must get into the nooks and crannies of your very being and take over the way you think , the way you dream, the way you hope. It must demand that you do everything with the intent to improve living. It should make pretty, add fun and exude a joie de vivre for whatever is it that you are doing , thinking and surrounding yourself with.
Exactly 89 days ago, (and I know this because of this fun app I have called Days Since. I also know I have been married to k for 3,247 days and that the kids are 2,576 and 1,373 days old respectively!) I joined a fitness and wellness program with the promise to change the way I feel (and also look to some measure). It is a program designed to feel and live your best. It includes high intensity workouts, a wonderful (if chatty) support group of similarly goaled women and a plan to help you cut out the unnecessaries. And while the plan literally meant unnecessary unhealthy food, I realized that in the last year I had accumulated a lot of unnecessary negative energy, unwanted thoughts and feelings that moving froward, I did not want as part of my life. I wanted brilliance, positivity, creativity and design as part of my existence.
I have loved every minute of the last 89 days. Even the excruciating (yet oddly fulfilling) aches and pains. Having never been a workout person, I have fallen in love with pushing myself to a point when it shakes with the exertion of pure physical exertion. I have loved feeling the difference in both how I look and feel, a duo that were simply not going together in the last few years. I either looked good or felt good and until there is a kind of relationship there, it isn’t going to last. Atleast not for me. I have enjoyed putting my meals together, the life designer in me kicking in with full verve. I have loved designing my plan, bringing in my washi team, to put up do’sand don’ts on the kitchen wall. I have really truly responded to my calling here, been at my best designing this change in my life to get rid of the bad and replace it what works, looks and feels good.
The late great Massimo Vignelli said, “The life of a designer is a life of fight against the ugliness”. That ugliness can come in the shape of conflict around you, bad clients, comic sans, friends who aren’t there, family that doesn’t understand, systems that work and simply awful looking design and it is upto us to fight fight fight…till the world is better designed. Or atleast we are.
One of the more exciting things we dream of as design students is recognition. Not necessarily the you are famous in a hashtag kind of way but the kind that makes your style something people will be able to see and connect with you immediately. After all, that is how all great designers are born.
15 years later and when I hear that now familiar comment of something being “very me” my first (ok maybe second) thought to myself is “Am I stuck in a rut?” followed closely on its heels by “Does all my work look the same?” Ideally I would like to believe that it is the essence of my thoughts that seeps into the work I do- that somehow my work is representative of the designer persona I have cultivated over the last decade or so more than it is about my choice of colour and font.
But I admit that this cannot be entirely true. In some cases it is, of course, where your voice and the your design mesh in absolure harmony to create that perfect mix of you design- but that kind of designing here (or maybe anywhere?), at least commercially is limited. Somewhere along the way, in the name of doing good, timely design and retaining that nice solid client, we do develop what is a called a default personal style, one that comes to us most easily, without too much research, prep or brainstorming. It is the safe zone, where a minimal amount of tweaking and input will result in what can be called good piece of work. It may not be exciting to us or something that teeters wonderfully and dangerously on the edge of pioneering frontiers, but it works well. And sometimes, without it being a compromise or a bad thing, that has to be the happily ever after.
When the topic first got posted, a whole gamut of words flew by in my head.
Patient. Dissociated. Ruthless. Adventurous. A few years ago, I wanted to be a wholly more ‘me’.
After all those many years of striving to be more of everything above, when faced with this statement yesterday,
funnily enough all the things that were coming to my head were things I wish I was less of.
Involved. Conscious. Aware. Forgiving. In most of my posts now, I keep coming back to this past year being definitive in many ways. In a most major way what it did was strip away a lot of the layers- all the mores I suppose I had collected over the years. What it left behind, hovering dangerously close to the surface in an about-to-erupt kind of way, was a lot of emotions and adjectives that, at this point, I can only wish I was a little less of. I have no doubt that those peeled off coatings will grow back eventually, as is must for survival and thrival but for now it feels quite raw and interesting.
Interesting because I have never been the kind of person to be able to disconnect completely from things that feature in my spheres of existence. I am proud of it and not porud of it in more or less equal measures. So this is new and I like it. I like this moment of epiphany that has extended its stay because, despite being too much to handle on a lot of accounts consistently, it has the remarkable power of making you cut cleanly to the matter at hand. Being more of so much makes you ruthless. You are able to decide with the sweep of a hand who to invest in and who to put on hold. It allows you the clarity of vision to decide between two things, both of which are differently and equally important to you. It also resolves a lot of the needless in decisions we place upon ourselves on a daily basis. You choose without that much more concern and guilt what is most important to you.
I don’t know about this kind of heightened living being good for the health in the long run but for now, I love it.