I get back to the bus stop around 8:30; a two-hour bus ride from New York has been my commute home everyday this summer. I got off the bus and was driving home, the windows were down and that cool late-summer-day breeze poured over me as I twist and turn down these country roads.
The iPhone was softly playing music when an old song started and I suddenly found myself reminiscing. Music does that to us. It invades our experiences and becomes forever locked in certain moments. When we hear that song again, all those emotions, experiences, and memories come flooding back. Like how that one band takes me back to my senior year of high school or that song that reminds me of Philadelphia or those songs that remind me of Kutztown and how that one album will always make me think of Nashville. A song doesn’t make us just remember another time, it makes us feel like we are there again. Music is multi-sensory like that, we don’t just hear the melody and the words, we feel them and they take us somewhere. My iTunes is a scrapbook, a roadmap of where I’ve been. If I ever want to remember and look back, I know how to get there.
The song finishes and a new one begins. I’m somewhere else. Music is a time machine.
—Moby, from The Atlantic’s What I Read feature
Reminds me of this quote from Shane Hipps
This is exactly why I love July’s work so much. I can’t wait to see The Future
(Also, here’s a great interview with July’s husband, Mike Mills, the graphic designer-turned-filmmaker on his latest film Beginners)
To be successful in art, you have to really love it and be totally devoted to it. Unfortunately, a family life is missed. It’s a sad thing. You’re not really with your family that much. You’re married to your art. I have some regrets about that. My art seemed to come ahead of everything. Maybe that’s what makes for the artist. Artists are very self-centered people. They love what they do to the exclusion of just about everything else. They kinda live in a bubble.
The term “work-life balance” gets thrown around a lot these days. I hate that phrase. I wonder if a balance like that is even possible? What if “work” and “life” can’t even be separated but are merely parts of the other? What if it’s all just one stream we delicately navigate down?
Yet, I think about this struggle Colan talks about often. I think the creative fields are more prone to obsession than others. I don’t know any accountants who crunch numbers in their free-time. But us artists? We get home from work—where we are creating—and create more! I spend my days pushing pixels, designing interfaces, and drawing icons only to come home and illustrate, draw, paint, photograph. For many of us our work is more than that. Even if a work-life balance is possible, I can never achieve it because my work is more than work. It’s part of my identity.
If while wandering around the inside of an art museum I come across a door that’s solidly locked shut, what do I do? Well, if I’m emotionally immature, I might wrestle with the door’s handle, or maybe fall to the floor and try to peer beneath it. I might throw a tantrum because I can’t get into that locked room. I might squat beside the door, fold my arms, and determinedly try to imagine everything inside the room. There are all times of ways I might waste my time outside that door.
But if mature, I will simply assume that those in charge of the museum know what they’re doing, and for whatever reason don’t want people going in that room. And that would be good enough for me. So I would turn away from the door, forget about the room, and go back out into the museum where all that wonderful art was waiting to enlighten and inspire me.
—John Shore (via)
Why worry about the future, what’s next, our five-year-plans and what’s behind all those locked doors when there is so much here, now, that is wanting to inspire and enlighten us? That door is locked and I’m learning to be okay with that.
I’m currently working my way through the terrific book Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Things One Sees, a biography and series of interview with the artist Robert Irwin by Lawrence Weschler. I’m finding myself marking it up all over and finding lot of passages resonate with me and my approach to design.