Advice for Artists and Designers

Liz Danzico (of Bobulate and SVA) asked me to finish this sentence in front of a camera: “So you’re thinking about becoming a designer? If I could tell you only *one thing* about going into the field, my advice would be ___________ ”

I think the most important piece of advice is to bring your camera everywhere you go. If you think your camera is too big, get a smaller one. I have a big DSLR that almost never gets used for anything other than documentation, but I always have my little point and shoot with me.

Just this weekend I was at a wedding. I didn’t bring the camera because… well, I’ve shot my fair share of weddings. But I cursed myself for not bringing it, not because I wanted to photograph the proceedings, but because there were some remarkable architectural details in the …mansion… that it was held in. The floors were all end grain pine. End grain is very hard, and if you cut and lay out pieces like a loaf of bread, you get beautiful patterns as the little bits of sapwood form quilt-like repeated triangles that wax and wane with the portion of the sapwood in the original board.

Sounds beautiful, right? Too bad I didn’t take a picture, and instead have to describe it imperfectly.

I think this advice holds true for any visual maker, artist, designer, architect, gardener.