I find myself at two points simultaneously and as much as I don’t want to bring personal life into this column I feel like it’s an important topic for the inspiration of all: beginnings.
The two points are at odds with each other. The first, a cliff soaring over the sea, with salt and spray and rocks at the bottom. I stand at the top, looking down. The second quite opposite: sitting securely in a rollercoaster cart at the base of a hill, ready to be pulled up by the chain lift. These things both are my upcoming graduation. I’m excited, to say the least.
And so I watch the above and I try to absorb the wisdom of those who have gone before me and I try to keep an even mix of those who succeed and those who fail, which often become the same person over time. Ze Frank, as I’m sure we’re all familiar, is a fantastic example of both of these; perhaps one of the first viral sensations.
There’s a subtext in that video that I really like, and it reminds me of Ira Glass’ writings on the similar subject: a call to make mass, mass bodies of work. Whatever you want. Who cares? And this is where obscurity actually works in your favor because you can put crap out there and learn from it and not fail in front of (too) many people (something that I, though minor in my celebrity as I am, fear personally). And I think we as designers get pigeonholed into genres that we feel trapped in. I think Ira and Ze (and, for that matter, Jobs and Rams and Eames etc.) were successful simply because they did whatever they felt like. Typography here, toy design there, maybe some bottles for a craft brewhouse, radio plays, interviews, dancing videos. I mean, the diversity of Ze’s work by itself is bizarre and remarkable. Having never met him, obviously, I can’t really testify, but he seems like the kind of guy who a) often finds something around him that trips his fancy and b) actually does it. I am, at the moment, trapped in the first part. I’m constantly amazed and inspired and in love with the world itself but I get distracted and forget to ship, which is the key part to the whole learning-by-doing/failing – you actually have to do things. I know. Shocker.
So. An invocation for beginnings. “Fuck, let’s do this.” as he says, to be blunt. Throwing caution to the wind (which, let’s be honest, is anything you design actually going to be that dangerous to make?) and just getting things done. Seeing all those inspiring things and actually doing them. Walking Dead isn’t that good anymore anyway, you don’t need to sit around and waste your time on that.
As for me: I don’t even mind the cliff I’m looking over. I think I know deep down inside that I can swim and the fall in between, well, is an Olympic dive really any different from a fool’s flailing? Nah. It’s a good show either way.
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