When too many different things mention a topic within a coincidental time frame, then that is a sign to me write about it.
I attended a presentation recently by Walter Isaacson, the author of the Steve Jobs Biography. He relayed insightful stories about our late, modern day genius. The most telling to me was how Steve Jobs equated science and technology merging with design as art. Like any artist, he was concerned in getting his vision correct with all the minor details making a difference. He was constantly simplifying – distilling the purity of his design. He reorganized the motherboard that most people wouldn’t even see so it would be aesthetically beautiful. Once completed, he had all the original creators sign their names, just as artists would. This is on the inside of his computers where you will never see but they know it’s there. Like some artists, he was egocentric and difficult to work with – his vision or the highway. OK, I admit that I can relate — with my artwork and business — but I can certainly collaborate with clients on their vision or help them obtain one. In fact, that is my favorite part of the creative process. It was a very inspirational speech and particularly to learn that Steve Jobs said, there is a shift that occurs in business when you’re more concerned about profit and it can bring a business down. With all those folks working away in China to create his products, this seemed a little contradictory. Above it all however, he was a scientific artist who has great designs for Apple products that have completely changed today’s technological landscape with their everyday use. Therein, they happen to be making a big profit because the design of their product comes first and drives sales.
Then, I got notice of a new book by Jonah Leher entitiled, Imagine How Creativity Works. He describes how great inspirations come from the friction that occurs with different types of people “mixing.” Here’s an excerpt:
He cites the example of Pixar Studios: Steve Jobs “wanted there to be mixing. He knew that the human friction makes the sparks, and that when you’re talking about a creative endeavor that requires people from different cultures to come together, you have to force them to mix; that our natural tendency is to stay isolated, to talk to people who are just like us, who speak our private languages, who understand our problems. But that’s a big mistake.”
I like this cover too — very creative and colorful and reminds me of quilling.
Be on the lookout, btw for Steve Jobs, the movie, coming to theaters soon. It’s in the works now. In the meantime, Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview is out in select theaters now. It was originally part of the PBS documentary series, Triumph of the Nerds, in 1995 and presumed lost. How he describes his product as having “feeling” and “taste” are instrumental to his vision that Apple has become.
Earlier that same day that I attended the Isaacson presentation, I listened to Luca Missoni, artistic director for Missoni, the fashion family and now home accessory and hotel empire, give his insights on design at the DC Design Center. Luca is far left in this family photo.
Luca relayed stories about the start of Missoni and how the origin was from his father’s sportswear business, from which knits spun (no pun intended). They were comfortable, easy wearing on the body, flexible yet practical. He showed us a wonderful video, sublime in it’s approach, with no voice overs to show the production of the designs: inside the plant facility, the machines working, dyeing the yarn, assembly, cutting, shaping and sewing, and finally, to the models getting ready to wear for a fashion show and then back to the machines again. Beautifully done. They weren’t looking to start their Home Collection but it was a natural progression from his mother’s family textile business producing bed linens. The fashion of home furnishings just mixed with Missoni. He said that they didn’t realize what a big deal the Target launch was — when all of their products sold out in a single day. They are getting ready to launch a line of fabrics and textiles with Stark.
Hmmm, I wonder if they have wallpaper? He was so down to earth and approachable but I just did not get the chance to speak with him with other conversations taking place. His inspiration, as he explained, comes from the artistic way of looking at something. For instance instead of saying how would this design look, he asks If I was a textile, how would I feel? In fact, his exhibition, The Art of the Moving Textile that chronicles the 60 years of family fashion and design, will be touring Slovenia, from where his father hails. Like Steve Jobs, Luca cited always coming “back to the essence of design” to distill the essential quality of their work, preserve it and start again with a fresh take. I was also moved by the biggest lesson he has learned from his father is to have joyful passion for your work and the work will come to you. They never go seeking it – it finds them.
How fascinating. I was already bubbly from the artistic discussion and the to have the author of Steve Job’s Biography, who is also from New Orleans and his uncle was Walker Percy, speak later that evening was a bit mind-boggling.
Finally I got this study from Houzz on what homeowners want and was hopeful to learn that 86% are looking to improve their space rather than remodel for profit. They want to enjoy what they have and make it better for their own lives. This shift is economic but also goes back to the importance of what is quality? The answer returns to functional, beautifully pleasing design that we thoughtfully fill our lives with and notice around us daily as living art — and what all three of these have in common….Art is Everywhere.