The passing and loss of (Lee) Alexander McQueen today is beyond description. There is nothing I can say that has not already been said, I did not know him but I loved his work. Here are a few of the write-ups in the papers and some of his work that has inspired me over the years:
When I was an undergrad in design school , I was one of the weakest drawing students among my peers our freshman year. My professors, patient and inspiring though they were, seemed to remain concerned about my weaknesses in the fields of drawing and craft; it was the final pin-up discussions at which I shone.
When the second semester of my freshman year came along and my drawing skills still fell short of my peers, one of my professors, who held a master’s in drawing, pulled me aside and gave me some advice. He gave me a few tips on how to improve the quality of my work, but above all advocated simply for practice. One of the exercises he recommended was to draw simple shapes over and over again– to draw until they were coming out of my ears. By so doing, I would be training my hands to be more skilled at quality of line and form. So for weeks I drew obsessively– circles, squares, cones, pyramids, triangles, lines, lines, lines; it was the mad hatter’s geometry and it was exploding inside my sketchbooks.
By the time I graduated with my BFA, I was selected as the designer of the year, so something must have clicked along the way; the mad hatter’s geometry had pushed me further. Today, simple forms like those from my professor’s exercise tend to creep into the margins of my sketchbooks and meeting notes– an unconscious habit, it now seems.
When I came across the above video from the Design Council, one of the first things that came to mind was that exercise of drawing simple shapes over and over and over.
Why be good when you can be better? What do you wish you could do better, dear readers? And how do you plan on getting there?
For the last two days, or evenings really, I’ve been reading The Barnbrook Bible as my break from work. It has been an absolute delight, leaving me further inspired by and in awe of Barnbrook’s work and perspective. I had the good fortune to spend some time with him at Grafic Europe in Berlin 5 years ago, but tried very hard not to be THAT person at the conference– the annoying fan who asks really specific questions about old work, celebrity clients and odd hypothetic situations.
Earlier this morning, I decided to catch up on what I’ve missed in the Virus Fonts and Barnbrook Design universe online. In so doing, I came across a number of his motion pieces from the last few years, here is one of the latest breathtaking pieces:
Building on an earlier theme of friends and former classmates, today I thought I’d share the fabulous work of another buddy from my college days at Carnegie Mellon. When I think about it, the CMU connection theme could easily become a feature unto itself on AmandaMuses, but we’ll just see, I guess…
Anyway, Josh Urso, another product of the Carnegie Mellon Design program, produces stunning furniture in his New Jersey studio. Since the opening of his design studio in 2002, Josh continues to produce items that explore the limitations of material and structure. His work, inspired by mechanical processes and new materials, inspires curiosity and a playful enjoyment of daily life.
Knoop Table in Black
Puff Light in purple
Specter Chair– alt. fabric choice
I love his Ant Farm lights and Knoop tables, and of course the incredible Specter chair– I remember Josh’s prototype senior year in college watching the evolution of this amazing object come to life. He took limp cloth and made it live with resin and sheer inventive brilliance.
It has been many years since I have been in touch with Josh, but from the look of his Web site, he is doing splendidly.