Katharine Hepburn photographed in front of her garden, 1985
“Design language has disappeared in our time. The rubbish that goes for design conversation is appalling. The lack of observation, the lack of analysis, the institutionalized commonality of everybody’s belief. The disregard for the real intention, purpose and function of design in the culture…it’s absurd. It’s largely a promotional tool. All these events and conversations that occur that are visible to us are primarily to exploit the personalities of practitioners so they can appear on stage, make a statement, and through the vehicle of promotion…get more work. So much of it is intended…the two most corrosive things in the culture: fame and money. And they’re intended, fundamentally to (I know I’m being extremely general now), but to peruse those objectives.”
— Milton Glaser (via)
“The nature of process, to one degree or another, involves failure. You have at it. It doesn’t work. You keep pushing. It gets better. But it’s not good. It gets worse. You go at it again then you desperately stab at it, believing “this isn’t going to work.” And it does.”
— Saul Bass
From Container List, the blog of the School of Visual Arts Archives and Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, a story about designer Tony Palladino’s attempt at bringing in new business:
“In 1971, Tony Palladino sent out this note to a selected but wide group of media contacts to solicit work. He printed the note in color and ripped each one by hand. The tactic worked! He successfully got work as a result of the mailing, and doesn’t recall a negative backlash.
Palladino made a point of choosing business associates who would get the joke, and would recognize his initials, T.P. He also says he wouldn’t dare pull a stunt like this today.”
Definitely not something that would fly today, although the promo card he cooked up 10 years earlier undoubtably would.
“Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.”
— John Green (via)
“I haven’t looked for new business in a very long time. It’s probably a mistake, ‘cause I certainly am not, you know, pushing people away with a stick. But when you’re supposed to be such a big shot, it’s very inelegant to knock on somebody’s door and say, 'Please, my children need shoes.’”
— Bob Gill, in a conversation with Steven Heller (via)
“No matter how much experience you have, the blank page is still terrifying.”
— Saul Bass
“We are shut up in schools & college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years & come out at last with a bellyful of words & do not know a thing. We cannot use our hands or our legs or our eyes or our arms.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
“What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.
Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?
Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.”
— Kurt Vonnegut (via)