them guys

So Zap sends me this wonderful Rich Gold talk The Coast Guard and its Borders and tells me […]

So Zap sends me this wonderful Rich Gold talk The Coast Guard and its Borders and tells me to read it. And I do. And I find this gem (as well as many others)

“I had gone to a college with both an art school and a design school. And the artists and designers always sat at separate tables and didn’t like each other much. These guys had sold out according to these guys and these guys were kind of flaky and didn’t really want to make a living according to those guys.

And the way I think about it, the difference between the art and the design is that an artist paints a painting, and he goes, “Oh, it’s beautiful. It’s me. It expresses myself. There I am. There’s my vision.” A designer paints a painting and in the end, turns it around and asks: “Do you like it? No? I’ll change it.” ”

Zap actually sent me the second part of the quote, but I wanted to include the first part, but there exists this art/design cultural uneasiness in schools, and later we pay for it no matter what side were on. As artists we are taught arrogance and starvation mentality, as designers we are taught to be pliant to the power of the buck. And we constantly suspect the other side might be having a better time of it, but we don’t dare cross because we are holding on to our dream/sense what-have-you.

As designers we ought to be strong but not arrogant, and be willing to do the right thing isince we are here to help our clients, and “help” and “obey” are not synonyms; and as artists we need to stop being bellybutton gazing sycophants and say something some one can hear.


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  1. 1

    There is no reason to portray ourselves as something else. If I should qualify myself as a programmer, I’d myself certainly answer: not at all. I’m a scripter.

    So it is for a designer: a designer is not a painter, is a craftsman.
    It is imaterial deciding who likes what: when a painter likes his/heer own paintings, he/she is not referring to him/herself alone, but to what in him/herself is stronger than him/herself and thus speaks to him/her. As such, that _is_ universal.

    By wondering “do I like it” the painter is NOT interrogating himself…

    You can be a painter and then also a designer – but not the other way round. Art is independent of the emobidments.

    It should be rephrased, becasue that included a big, rather “gross” misunderstanding of what an artist truly feels: it says
    Oh, it’s beautiful. It’s me. It expresses myself. There I am. There’s my vision

    Let’s “correct” it:
    Oh I have tormented myself for 2 months on this and now it SEEMS beautiful to me. It’s what in myself called me to duty and now I think I have absolved that imperious call I suddenly felt. It expresses it. There IT is. I have had my vision of how a man/woman better than me could be. I have overcome my limit and for a second I have had a glimpse of Promiseland.

    _That_ is what an artist feels.


  2. 3

    Classified as an artist in school, I was never actually concsious of this “rivalry”, I only lived it. My first push was a bad design teacher, caught up on fishing lure magazines. I credit and thank him for unknowingly pushing me towards art rather than design.

    I’ve since made the transition back (someones got to bring home the money), living every moment of the “service” life. Besides, how many folks have the luxury to live off of the commodoties of art?

  3. 4

    Art is _not_ a business. That is. It is a call, from within. Design is a call, from without: the client from without pays, the “client” from within does not.

    So Art just is not a business. It just can’t be.

    The fact you sell today Van Gogh at 100 millions of dollars apiece, doesn’t conceal the fact that van Gogh didn’t evewn find in his lifetime a whore giving him a kiss in turn for his ear.

    Art is not a business. That is the point. It is a call, from within.

  4. 6

    It’s a long essay and seems there are two versions of it. Which one is the definitive one?

    It seems rather interesting. Only “bad” thing, it is divided into about 12 or more pages (with no links providing a map or an overview of it. I stopped saving after about 10 pages) and I will have to save them all to read it at ease off line (we pay per minute in Europe lol).

    I think that when they divide an article in too many pages, that’s somewhat dysfunctional: if one likes it and wants to save it, one has to follow all the pages and save all of them independently (moreover they all carry the same title, argh!) – when you have to do it for 2 or 3 pages is ok but 12 pages can be discouraging: you have to chase them all!

    I’m going to read it, at first sight the strange thing is that it divides arts+science+engineering+design.
    Now, when I read it maybe it explains why, but that seems odd.

    I mean, reading Rene Guenon, he once criticized the appraoch that says rainbow has 7 colours: it actually has six – that is, Guenon argues (trying to remember) that “dividing violet from blue would be like dividing orange from yellowish-orange”. At least so Guenon argues. Six are enough, and if I am not mistaken it was Aristotle who suggested that “entia”, categories, should not be unnecessarily multiplicated.

    We have art and we have science: why engineering should be differentiated from science and design from art?

    May I take this chance to suggest one essay by me about art? It is called “Shakespeare and the Rule breakers”. You will see there how persons who are not artists can misinterpret Shakespeare. Worth a glance methink: misconceptions about artists all derive from attitudes that are not artistic in the first place.
    There is also a beautiful long quote by Machiavelli and one long (and rather famous) by Kafka, though anyway my essay is not too long.


  5. 7

    It’s a powerpoint, so it wasn’t intented to be an article over multiple pages. While I agree, a single download would be nicer, it is nice to have it archived at all.

    Many folks in the US forget about european charges… i learned the hard way when I spend soem months with my (then boyfriend) philippe in france. When we worked on shockwave, we created a european persona who watched shockwave movies on the train….

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