Sunday, September 7, 2008

Creative Discovery: To Be Sure Without Knowing

Okay, I'm about to get a little woo-woo. Josh Doorman is an artist who works with maps, and consequently with memory – he's currently working on a project involving memory and Alzheimers and dementia patients. But here's the woo woo part: In his artists' statement, he writes, "As I get older, it gets more difficult to write about my own work. However, the less I am able to articulate what I do, the more I trust in my process."
I find that to be a beautiful truth about life that we can rarely implement in design as it is very rare to find a client who trusts in the artist within the designer. It doesn't seem billable if we can't rationalize it. And that's a huge part of our training , right? There's an adage, design is about solving problems, art is about creating a problem to solve, or something like that. Our value to business as visual communicators and designers is to solve the problem our clients/employers face, to "find the pain" and figure out how we can help, as a friend put it to me recently. 

Still, there is mystery in the western, post-enlightenment sense, a puzzle to solve; and then there is that Greek version, much more Eastern than we're comfortable with, the mystery which when we dive into, requires that we leave our reason behind and then provides for us a place to settle in, to be surprised, to discover. To be sure without knowing.

Well, that's probably enough woo woo for now. It's just that sometimes it's nice to take a break from what's billable and enjoy the process of creative discovery. That's partly what I like about Josh Doorman's map art. Check it out. 

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