Embrace mannequins in your display design:
p.s. : 101′th post! Woo!
Embrace mannequins in your display design:
p.s. : 101′th post! Woo!
Ai Weiwei was named by the Wall Street Journal as the World’s Most Influential Artist.
“…Weiwei took the top spot in the magazine’s annual list of influencers, beating last year’s No. 1 pick Larry Gagosian, the well-known art dealer who represents Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons… According to ArtReview, the rankings are based on financial clout as well as activity over the past year. It’s been an eventful one for Mr. Ai, who was released in June after 81 days of detention by Chinese authorities. Since then he has spoken out about his imprisonment and resumed his use of Twitter, two activities that may violate the terms of his release.” here
Although he is the ‘World’s Most Influential Artist’, I must admit that I actually am not all that familiar with his work. I mean, I’ve heard about his name and exploits enough times, but only one of his pieces really comes to mind – the famous installation with thousands of hand sculpted and painted sunflower seeds. I am planning on watching his doccumentary soon, and will probably do a post about him (look out for that), but I have to say, whether I can say that I know him more than I know his work, Weiwei is an influential artist that runs his business damn well.
He he is a ‘successful’ artist – and I say successful with a grain of salt, for who has the same definition of success? Yada, yada… – because he plays/is the part. He lives a life of art, and ‘of his (business) goals’. Every aspect of his life is focused towards his purpose, and he markets himself so successfully because of this. The clothes he wears, his facial hair, his time in jail, his installations and work obviously, and even the amount of work he’s able to produce. These all point in the direction of his portfolio, so that he becomes an icon of his work. And I feel as though this all comes naturally to him – his clothes, his words, etc. – because he embraces his work as a way of life. Thus small, everyday decisions follow.
I recently read one of the best posts I think Scott Schumann of TheSartorialist fashion blog has ever posted. The post was in response to a backlash he had received from commenting on one of his photographs of a fashion student in Mexico City that “…it was nice to see a student that actually looked like she was interested in working in the fashion business.”(here) People said that it was an unfair comment and that a student’s schedule doesn’t allow one to always look ‘good’. Scott’s response was this:
To be a successful fashion designer, it’s not all about what happens in the design studio.
You have to learn something about how to manage a business (especially since most designers start their businesses balancing between being the designer, accountant, press agent, etc), how to articulate your design concept and how to personally embody the spirit of the brand you hope to build.
Do you think Karl ever says “I’m too busy/tired to look like Karl today?” (And before you say “oh he has massive numbers of people helping him” believe me, he is more busy than any design student.)
Most design schools don’t do a great job teaching this reality to students so you can put off until after you graduate to start learning these other skills and habits, but why wait? Start manifesting these skills/habits now.
At least challenge yourself to start personally embodying the spirit of your design aesthetic; Karl looks like his designs, Giorgio looks like his designs, Raf looks like his designs. It’s not easy, but neither is the fashion industry.
From his time in jail and his protests, his work, his intensity, Ai Weiwei, just like Karl Lagerfeld, feels like his designs.
There is an exhibition coming up soon of Weiwei’s work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, so to promote it he installed this piece in the hallway made of backpacks called “Snake Ceiling”, 2009. The description of the pieces is as follows:
‘On May 12, 2008, a massive earthquake in China’s Sichuan province killed approximately 90 000 people. Ai Weiwei created this serpentine sculpture, made of about 400 backpacks, to commemorate the more than 5,000 schoolchildren who were killed when their shoddily constructed schools collapsed. Government officials refused to release the numnber of deaths, or acknowledge any accountability so in 2009, Ai Weiwei launched a “citizen investigation” to ensure that neither the children nor the devastation would be forgotten. He wrote: “Can these facts be altered? The hearts stopped beating, their limbs decayed, and their shouts disappeared with their breath can these be retured? Wave upon wave of mighty propaganda from the national state apparatus cannot erase the persistent memories of the survivors…. People’s hearts will call out each of your names, the name that belonged to you will be remembered. When it is called out again, you will rise from the dead and be contented spirits.’
Of course this pieces is so my style, but despite that, to look up and see a snake overhead is cool to say the least. Never mind the fascination surrounding his cause. Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and a great Monday.
I learned a lot of things during my Undergraduate degree, and I am not going to list them all today. This is not going to be my ‘What I Have Learned So Far In My Life’ list (yep, I am that overbearing and keen that I keep a literal list like that (in the vein of Stefan Sagmeister, though, to be fair…) ). This week I officially convocate, so I thought I’d give a quick summary version of some important things that come to mind that I learned during my undergrad. You will go, or have gone, to Undergrad yourselves, you’ll learn the rest, whatever. I just wanted to give you a lil hint.
1. Here is proof that if you want to / have to learn something, you can actually find a way. You know where to look, you know who to ask, you’ve done it before.
2. Life is actually tough in the fast lane. Apply for things, hustle, don’t fall asleep.
3. (personal belief**) We must create our own meaning in our lives. We choose the meaning in our lives. Education is knowing that we can choose for something to mean something.
4. ‘Putting into action’ and ‘understanding’ are the values of study.
5. Most people don’t know what the eff they are talking about. (in life, academically, etc.) Take comfort in that.
6. Almost nothing is black and white. Pretty much nothing.
7. Marks mostly don’t matter, but sometimes they do matter. Invest your heart in the right place at the right time.
8. Consider the likelihood of returning home before midnight after a day of school. Act accordingly.
9. Become friends with really weird people, from different circles and walks of life, because they are just nice or cool or interesting.
10. Think frequently and hard about what you actually want out of life: what you want your life to look and feel like, how much free time, how much family, how much money, and freedom, and work, long-term, and at each stage. You don’t have to know right now, but just think about it. Consider it and toy with it. And then try to make what you think is the best option happen. Do many, many multiples of iterations on this.
Note: I have chosen not to include any of the REAL life lessons you learn in college/uni (said drinking rules, social norms, how to sip 21 different liquids in the dining hall and then run to a different dining hall without vomiting… what? I never did that. Why would anyone try to do that?!) Have you ever seen the movie Meatballs? It is like that, except not at a fat camp and add all of the life lessons listed above. :)
One of my dream jobs (that I will land in the near future..) is doing display design for Anthropologie. I think that store (umm, I should say religion…) is miles ahead in that regard. They’ve had the most inventive, brand-relevant display designs for years. It strengthens the styling of their products within the store tenfold, in my opinion. You feel cool and individual and arty and interesting and cute just entering that place. Its like I half expect Michelle Williams or somebody to walk past me on my way out.
I’ve featured Anthropologie’s display design on the blog before, but I have researched so many of their displays (and they are so fabulous) that I feel that they warrant individual posts. For the same reason why I love The Office or Flash Mobs, the display designers at Anthropologie make the everyday, ubiquitous, boring and annoying items fascinating and romantic. The really quiet, unassuming items. Paper and cups and cardboard and 2×4′s and forks and cupcake liners. I also love that they don’t ‘repurpose’ these materials because they’re making a statement about the environment. Nope, they do it because they’re available or cheap or just the shape they wanted. To me, its like the designers are inspired by the crappy garbage items they choose to use. I freaking love that. That is catnip for me.
Here are some winter-related (even though its June) pictures for you:
“If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”
David Foster Wallace, commencement speech 2005, Kenyon College
“Education gives us awareness.”
This week I watched and listened to this video of David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech for the graduating class at Kenyon College. The speech was later published as a book, entitled “This is Water”, and a videos of the speech went viral days after its initial posting. In the speech Wallace focuses on real life after college and what education really means to him: the freedom to be able to choose what has meaning and what doesn’t. It is really worth a watch. Its stuck in my head, and I can’t get it out, and its uncomfortable there for some reason, but I don’t want to get it out.
The original animation that I watched of this was recently deleted, but here’s a recording of the original audio:
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“‘Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from that experience.”
“If you really learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred. On fire with the same force that lit the stars.”
“The only thing that’s capital-t True, is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of real education. Of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.”
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in a myriad of petty, unsexy ways every day.
The alternative is unconscious.”
Also, while on the subject, here’s an article about David Wallace, a great American writer, on my favorite brainpickings.
I have a new computer. Hallelujah I say! I am not going to pretend that it was some travesty that my ‘r’ and ‘f’ and ’4′ key weren’t working, but the random black screen was putting a damper on my log of display design / exhibition design / art installations / inspiration blogging. And it was putting a damper on your reading, probably.
Today I have an extra special treat. A while back I encountered this fabulous photo-series by the photographer Cerise Doucède. When I talk about this series, I want to say that I’m showing you photography and portraiture, but then I want to say that its sculpture and installation work, and then I just want to say that it ‘crosses boundaries and disciplines‘ and is dang amazing. I love, I mean really, really love, this kind of photography. It is certainly not for everyone, but it seems so honest in fantasy-sort-of-way.
Do you ever fantasize? I don’t mean sexually fantasize (although, hello non-Thor Hemsworth! I heard you and Miley broke up and that you miss being the love interest on a show about an elephant princess…?), I mean life-fantasize. Do you ever pause what you are doing and wonder what it would be like if you were in another time or country? Or if you were dying or in love? (I feel like its a great inspiration exercise..) Or when things are monotonous at work, do you picture yourself breaking out in Hall & Oates? (That was a personal favorite fantasy of mine at work a couple years back..) I’m pretty sure that these photos are my favorite alternate-reality, photography fantasies realized.
There’s a great article on the series over at ExposureGuide.com, and my favorite excerpt is this:
Usually, removing the strings that hold up objects is done in post-processing, but Doucède chose to leave them visible to create a bridge between reality and fiction. “Otherwise it’s just a fictional or fantastical photo and I didn’t want that…” she says.
I love that very important detail that although the series explores fantasy, it is distinctly real-life.
What are your fantasies that you have in day-to-day life? Share your non-sexual fantasies below! (Wow, this post is so HBO edgy.)