Lynda Barry on gazing

“When I was 19, my teacher, Marilyn Frasca talked to me about ‘seeing what’s there.’ Our work was not to like or dislike the image we were looking at, not to try to improve it or understand it. The first thing we need to be able to do is really see what is there.

How do we see what’s there beside good or bad? The word ‘gazing’ comes to mind — a kind of open and sustained looking. A certain feeling comes with it…”

— Lynda Barry (via)

Whilce Portacio on learning by seeing

“You learn from everything that you see. And you don’t want to limit yourself to just comics. I got interested in drawing because of a tree that grew in my front yard. One day the tree struck me as being really cool and I thought, ‘What makes that tree totally cool to me?’ Once you stop learning from things around you, you stop becoming an artist and you become what they call jaded.”

— Whilce Portacio

Ursula K. Le Guin on aging

“I want to tell people, ‘Don’t be afraid of getting to fifty, sixty, even seventy. If you got your health and something to live on, they can be really good years.'”

— Ursula K. Le Guin

Michael Bierut on non-design

“More than twenty years ago, I served on a committee that had been formed to explore the possibilities of setting up a New York chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). Almost all of the other committee members were older, well-known—and, in some cases, legendary—designers. I was there to be a worker bee.

I was suddenly in—what seemed to me then, at least—the center of the design universe. There was already so much to see and do, but I wanted more. I was ravenous. Establishing a New York chapter for the AIGA would mean more lectures, more events, more graphic design. For the committee’s first meeting, I had made a list of all designers I would love to see speak, and I volunteered to share it with the group.

A few names in, one of the well-known designers in the group cut me off with a bored wave. ‘Oh God, not more show-and-tell portfolio crap.’ To my surprise, the others began nodding in agreement. ‘Yeah, instead of wallowing in graphic design stuff, we should have something like…a Betty Boop film festival.’ A Betty Boop film festival? I wanted to hear a lecture from Josef Müller-Brockmann, not watch cartoons. I assumed my senior committee members were pretentious and jaded, considering themselves—bizarrely—too sophisticated to admit they cared about the one thing I cared about most: design. I was confused and crestfallen. Please, I wanted to say, can we start talking some sense?

I thought I was a pretty darned good designer back then. A few years before, in my senior year, I had designed something I was still quite proud of: a catalog for Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center on the work of visionary theater designer Robert Wilson. The CAC didn’t hire me because I knew anything about Robert Wilson. I had never heard of him. More likely they liked my price.

About a year after my disappointing meeting with the planners of the AIGA New York chapter, I finally saw my first Robert Wilson production. It was the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1984 revival of Einstein on the Beach. And sitting there in the audience, utterly transported, it came crashing down on me: I had completely screwed up that catalog. Seen live, Wilson’s work was epic, miraculous, hypnotic, transcendent. My stupid layouts were none of those things. They weren’t even pale, dim echoes of any of those things. They were simply no more and no less than a whole lot of empty-headed graphic design. And graphic design wasn’t enough. It never is.”

— Michael Bierut (via 79 Short Essays on Design)

Umberto Eco on books

“It is foolish to think that you have to read all the books you buy, as it is foolish to criticize those who buy more books than they will ever be able to read. It would be like saying that you should use all the cutlery or glasses or screwdrivers or drill bits you bought before buying new ones.

There are things in life that we need to always have plenty of supplies, even if we will only use a small portion.

If, for example, we consider books as medicine, we understand that it is good to have many at home rather than a few: when you want to feel better, then you go to the ‘medicine closet’ and choose a book. Not a random one, but the right book for that moment. That’s why you should always have a nutrition choice!

Those who buy only one book, read only that one and then get rid of it. They simply apply the consumer mentality to books, that is, they consider them a consumer product, a good. Those who love books know that a book is anything but a commodity.”

— Umberto Eco

Scott McCloud on mini-comics

“Everybody should do mini-comics. Take four hours some night. I don’t care if you’ve never done a comic in your life, you can do a mini-comic.

The main reason that mini-comics are so exciting to me is that they’re so easy to do, to publish, in terms of actually constructing the thing, getting them printed up and all. They’re in such a simple format that fans could be doing mini-comics all the time. Instead of buying the ‘right’ bristol board, and pen sets, practicing thigh muscles – if instead they just started making comics and giving them to friends, giving them to people who had nothing to do with comics, doing them about their own lives, about things that happen to them every day that their friends have some reference for – people would start to develop their own way of telling a story, their own styles would evolve, just naturally. And suddenly there’d be so many more diverse styles than now, where everybody who thinks about breaking into comics thinks in terms of Marvel first, DC second.

It won’t matter that you can’t draw a man to look like anything other than a cucumber, it doesn’t matter, because it’s all among friends. You get the full range of experience from writing to art to lettering to printing, even selling, in some cases, and most of all reader reaction, which is where it all happens!”

— Scott McCloud

Richard Linklater on passion

“When you were asking — and it’s a poignant, important question — What’s your relationship now to the work back then? Are you as passionate? I really had to think about that. My analysis of that is, you’re a different person with different needs. A lot of that is based on confidence. When you’re starting out in an art form or anything in life, you can’t have confidence because you don’t have experience, and you can only get confidence through experience. But you have to be pretty confident to make a film. So the only way you counterbalance that lack of experience and confidence is absolute passion, fanatical spirit. And I’ve had this conversation over the years with filmmaker friends: Am I as passionate as I was in my 20s? Would I risk my whole life? If it was my best friend or my negative drowning, which do I save? The 20-something self goes, I’m saving my film! Now it’s not that answer. I’m not ashamed to say that, because all that passion doesn’t go away. It disperses a little healthfully. I’m passionate about more things in the world. I care about more things, and that serves me. The most fascinating relationship we all have is to ourselves at different times in our lives. You look back, and it’s like, I’m not as passionate as I was at 25. Thank God. That person was very insecure, very unkind. You’re better than that now. Hopefully.”

— Richard Linklater (via)

Věra Chytilová in 2004

A few quotes by Věra Chytilová from Jasmina Blaževič’s 2004 documentary, Journey: A Portrait Of Věra Chytilová:

“The most important thing for the work is one’s interest. But to base my work on my interests is hard because I’m interested in everything. As soon as you go through one door others keep opening up.”

“What’s important is the creator’s approach. That’s what’s interesting and unique. It’s original because we’re all different. We perceive things differently.”

“It’s not about being original at any cost. It’s about finding a stronger way to express your thought. “

“Basically, I always knew I did everything so that one day we would live in a house with a garden… For me it’s a refuge here. It’s a place that makes me feel safe, a place that makes sense, so I like it here. Even if I were alone I would gain strength from this place… And mainly it’s important that one does it all themselves. You yourself planted the elm, planted it badly, too close to the house. But you did it; you remember that you climbed that tree, that the kids climbed it, and that now no one climbs it. Everything makes sense.”

“When I look at my life, I don’t look at my work… All whom I loved, simply: that’s the most important thing. I don’t care about the rest.”

Louise Glück on change

“Nothing in the past can be changed or restored. But the present can change the way it is thought about. In this new enactment, presence can replace absence, which is the best that can be managed in human time.”

— Louise Glück