Kyle Baker on big companies

“A lot of big companies deal almost exclusively with people who have wanted to work for them since birth. The problem with that is the companies don’t have to treat you with any kind of respect or pay you.”

— Kyle Baker (via Hot Tips From Top Comics Creators)

Bill Black on deadlines

“You know, ‘way back in the ’30s someone said that comic books came out monthly, and I have seen in many a great deal of stress and physical impairments that come about because of these deadline problems.”

— Bill Black

Bill Sienkiewicz on art

“Part of what art is is the essence, the quintessential essence, distillation; it’s knowing as much what to leave out as what to put in.”

— Bill Sienkiewicz

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon on design

“Armin [Hofmann] taught us to always make clear solutions. ‘Learn the rules’, he said. ‘Follow them. Later, if you are brilliant enough, you can break them.’ In Switzerland, you weren’t supposed to be original. You were supposed to learn. At the Kunstgewerbeschule you would sit in rows in the classrooms, like a laboratory, doing your exercises. You would be working on a lower case ‘a’ for example, placing it on a grid, and Armin would walk by and without a word he would get you to stand up, and he’d sit down and white-out your sketch, correcting you to the absolute balance of that letter. Armin was there to teach us how to do it his way. And eventually you would learn how to do it Armin’s way…

To this day, the combination of being trained as a ballet dancer, and trained by a Swiss to be a designer: I think that’s why I haven’t fallen apart!”

— Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

Bob Gill on noise and ideas

“Still fresh out of school, I realized that I didn’t want to just make good design. I wanted to make statements, which you could also call ideas. Obviously I want to make it as interesting and nice looking as possible, but never at the expense of the idea. If the statement isn’t interesting, the visualization isn’t going to be interesting either. But if the statement is genuinely interesting, you can’t miss – it designs itself…

I went to see the director of the Ulm School of Design school who was a South American architect. He looked at my portfolio, which I had because I was visiting a client, and he said, ‘Ugh, this is awful!’ I said, ‘What!? Isn’t this exciting? No one ever told me I was terrible!’

First he said, ‘You have drawings in here. Drawings are old fashioned – they’re not twentieth century.’ Then he said, ‘Also, there are three ways of doing a poster. The first is called Image.’ We all know what that means. If it’s a poster about the life of Winston Churchill, the image is Winston Churchill and it communicates perfectly.

Then he says, ‘The second way is Icon.’ And what’s an icon? It’s a symbol. Well, what’s a symbol for Winston Churchill? A cigar or a Union Jack.

Then he says, ‘The third is Noise.’ I said, ‘What’s noise?’ and he pulled out a portfolio of posters by Otl Aicher – who did a monthly poster for a kiosk in town about what was going on at the university – and shows me one that was about evolution or something. It was a blue background with pink dots and the director says, ‘This is noise.’ And I said, ‘How do you evaluate it?’ He said, ‘If it makes people look at the poster, why not?’

So when I went back to London, I said to myself, ‘I’m going to make ‘Noise.” So the next job came in and I said, ‘Ah! I’m going to use a green triangle with red lines going through it.’ Which of course had nothing to do with the subject of the poster. And then I said to myself, ‘Should it be a green triangle, or a purple triangle, or a yellow triangle?’ I didn’t have the confidence that Aicher had for choosing a green or yellow triangle. I tried a bunch of colors and triangles but in the end I couldn’t make up my mind and I couldn’t do ‘Noise.’ But it’s a perfectly valid solution.

So not only am I not condemning designers for not having an idea but I’m not even condemning them for making purposeless blue triangles. It all makes the world more interesting but for me – I’m not capable of making ‘Noise.'”

— Bob Gill (via Please Make This Look Nice)

Ken Russell on silent films

“I’m a great fan of silent films. I believe that films started to go wrong when sound came in because dialogue is not cinematic. I’m a silent filmmaker. I make silent movies and put music on them.”

— Ken Russell

Kurt Vonnegut on artists

“The example of my mentor’s brilliance: Using the Socratic method, he asked his little class this: ‘What is it an artist does – a painter, a writer, a sculptor – ?’ His answer was this: ‘The artist says, ‘I can do very little about the chaos around me, but at least I can reduce to perfect order this square of canvas, this piece of paper, this chunk of stone.’

Most of my adult life has been spent in bringing to some kind of order sheets of paper eight and a half inches wide and eleven inches long. This severely limited activity has allowed me to ignore many a storm. It has also caused many of the worst storms I ignored. My mates have often been angered by how much attention I pay to paper and how little attention I pay to them. I can only reply that the secret to success in every human endeavor is total concentration. Ask any great athlete.

To put it another way: Sometimes I don’t consider myself very good at life, so I hide in my profession.”

— Kurt Vonnegut (via Palm Sunday)

Martin Scorsese on moments

“At this point in my life, every moment is precious. Every frame of every picture is precious and every gesture… And so my work is to find the truth of existing – ultimately, that’s what I have always been trying to express, whether I was aware of it or not.”

— Martin Scorsese

Andrzej Pągowski in 2011

Excerpts from two separate interviews with Andrzej Pągowski on designing film posters in Poland. The first, from September 2011:

Andrzej Pągowski: Earlier it was possible to make something ‘for the street’ and it would have been noticed. Today, in that gigantic melting pot of colours, one needs to make a decision which has enormous financial consequences…

I believe that young people more and more often appreciate those years of the 70’s and 80’s. In fact, those were years of freedom, which paradoxically enough, does not exist today. I could paint the way I wished to, scribble according to my needs and nobody would remark on that. Today I do the main graphic content, whereas the letters of the text and information about sponsors are inserted by the agency. I fight against it, but on the other hand, I am not the one who finances films.

So the world of advertising plays the role of the censor?

Pągowski: Yes! It intervenes at every move of the graphic designer with the words, ‘This is not going to sell.’ People are not even aware that there exists a powerful group of people who make decisions for the average Kowalski as to what cultural content and in what form it should reach him. I bear a grudge against decision-makers of different groups who manage culture and have begun to serve it in the form of worse and worse mindless mash. And people believe that this is what they are to have. I believe that in 10 or 15 years it will be really difficult to make a name in art. Unless a new generation of truly great and dynamic people begins to understand that apart from having good things to wear and good things to eat, it is worth being in touch with culture.

And the second, from December 2011:

Andrzej Pągowski: Most of the things that i am interested in, which I like and which can be called a hobby result from my way of living and working. If someone is a doctor and is interested in film, then people say that it is his hobby. And I am interested in film because I design film posters…

There is constantly lots to do and I am not capable of stopping at just one task. If someone wants me to do something for him, then that is for me an enormous dose of adrenaline. I hardly ever assign myself subjects to work on. I most often work on things commissioned from me by others. I see my work as equal to that of a baker or a tailor. I am a graphic designer and that is my profession. If someone says that I am an artist, then I accept that, for I feel like an artist, but that is my profession. I used to treat what I was doing as some kind of mission. When I made posters for the films of Wajda and Kieślowski – I created. Now things have changed. Now my work is the final result of multiple factors, confrontations and conversations – starting with the order itself, then successive designs and their transformations. I reach an understanding with the client. But there are, of course, limits to the compromise. They are present within me. I then feel that I cannot put my signature on the work. I cannot allow for the client to hem me in…

I often ask myself the question of what I am doing in this world and why I am here. Those kinds of questions appear when one becomes more mature and has already received something from life. When you can share something or perhaps, pay some debt – contribute your work to a charity auction, design a socially-engaged campaign … I am not a rich enough person to be able to donate large sums of money, but I am rich in talent and ability to work.

— (via Pągowski: Illustrating Films)