Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buildings Perdu

We have a new Art Museum being build in Aspen. It's been a supremely controversial process. The naysayers have been storming the castle "it's too big!" That's been the primary complaint "it's too big!"

None the less up she goes - a new architectural icon in the city a large block of man made already dripping with the promise of cutting edge avant guard wow with Shigeru Ban recently winning the Pritzker.

Walking past the construction block yesterday I couldn't help but notice how that straight edged cube cut against Aspen Mountain and reduced the ridge line of Shadow Mountain to nothing more than a frost tipped line of crenolated cake decoration. It is not another peak in the mountain range as pictured in the sketch it is a big rectangular bite of brutalism. I'm certain the Calders will be happy gently swaying on the roof and the view from the inside will be stunning but this designs mocks it's setting, and not in a nice way.

Oh, I miss the Given Institute soooooo much. That was poetry in the trees.  Take another look at Greg Watts requiem in photographs of Harry Weese's masterful humanism:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Time of your Life

Linda and I went to school together, so of course I read her blog and she's got a post up there now which is taking off like a rocket.

That's certainly been my philosophy for life-  no money- no workie - but my deeply held beliefs keep wobbling around  like  slow moving  squishy water balloons in the Marianus Trench.

How do you get paid?

I'm reminded of a talk by Bev Emmons when she was asked that ubiquitous question which all working women are asked, "How do you balance being a mother and a professional?" Her response was classic.  She said being a mother and a Lighting Designer teaches 2 things: 1. You always ask for a fair wage because the kids need to eat. 2. You can always recognize when your director is acting like a 2 year old. 

No, really, how do you get paid? Honestly I'd love to just do fun things the rest of my life, listen to marvelous lectures by super smart people, ski fresh powder, walk dogs through wildflowers . feast with friends and (a la Voltaire) watch my garden grow. All of that *would not make me happy* because it doesn't include *work* it doesn't include purpose.  If you don't need to work for money you need to work for sanity. Try idleness for awhile. See where it leads you. We are creatures of curiosity. We are creatures who find and solve problems. It's what we do. The trick is where you spend your most precious asset. Where do you spend your time? Ultimately that is where you've spent your life it is your work, it is your legacy.

The one thing which I do not do, nor should anyone else, is wait for opportunity to come knocking.  

That doesn't mean an orgy of extroversion or shameless self promotion. That was the mantra when I was in school- push forward! self promote! That always seemed so uncomfortable because I had been taught to let the work speak for itself.  Now with social media and crowd funding the work can speak for itself.  Just do the work, client or no, paid or no. It's the first rule of kayaking, keep paddling.   If the work doesn't have anything interesting to say… well then silence is pretty powerful feedback (hey- you- you got it wrong! Try again, try something else.) If people keep offering you **** jobs… well that's feedback too (sour attitude attracts sour clients, like finds like).

I haven't found a better expression of this than Amanda Palmer's TED talk

How do you get paid? If no one is willing to kickstart your movie or you're too intimidated to ask for pay, you might be in the wrong business, you might need to get a job frying doughnuts. That's not a step backward, that's a step towards finding your true self you'll either find the courage to push out of the fryer or you'll find the zen of frying (the 3rd option of dying old, greasy and bitter is just too banal to contemplate). 

Do the work that's true, and respect the work of others (even if they're frying doughnuts). All work is sacred and deserves respect.  

Sometimes you just have to pop the balloon.