I’ve spent the last few days roaming around London visiting galleries. There is so much art that can be seen here right now which is very exciting to anyone interested in the arts or design. Yesterday I went to the Pablo Picasso exhibit at the Tate Britain. The curator did a great job putting it together as it takes a look at his paintings and sketches from his early works such as his Blue Period, through Cubism, and later in the time where he expressed his angst of the Spanish War with the Weeping Woman and the highly controversial Guernica.
As you walked through each room there was a section dedicated to an English artist that worked with, was influenced by or admired Picasso’s work at a specific time in his career. Artists such as Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland were all innovators of abstract art that helped bring it to the forefront in the art world. These artist’s learned from each other nesting in the same cities (often Paris and London), spending time in each other’s galleries, and sharing exhibitions to market their work to collectors around the world.
Personally, as much as I was in awe of each artist’s graphic composition of short and long brush strokes, I found myself mostly interested in the card that hung on the wall next to the paintings. For each painting there was a little written story that gave a description of the relationship that Picasso developed with each artist. The card informed you of the circumstances of which they met, why one of the artists influenced the other, who was buying their work, where they lived and what circles of people they used to spend most of their time with. You were left with a sense of what it would have been like to live as an artist in the first half of the last century during a time when the world was rapidly changing.
What’s so exciting about life is that no matter where you come from, whether you are a banker, a poet, a mother who keeps the house for her family, a business owner or all of the above you’ve likely lived an incredible life with your own incredible story just as these artist’s have.
The greatest miracle of life is that it is constantly changing. Even if you think you’ve been doing the same thing for the past 20 years chances are you haven’t. Most likely that you’ve been on vacations near or far, you’ve changed careers, you’ve made new friends as your life has evolved and grown distant with friends that don’t match your lifestyle as much as they did before. You’ve likely met people you found interesting that have inspired you and developed your interests. Possibly you lost a friend or relative and because of it you look at life with new eyes. Perhaps you’ve taken a shot at love and experienced some great highs and possibly experienced loss.
For me this is the juice in life. This is what we get up for in the morning. The possibility that something new and exciting is going to come knocking on our door that will add to our enduring story.
A long time ago I watched a movie called The Dead Poets Society. For those of us that don’t read poetry we were first introduced to the phrase “Carpe Diem” from the Latin poem by Horace, which means, “Seize the day”. Life is short and whatever religion you do or don’t believe in, in this consciousness, we get only one shot at life. For me this is a motto above all others that I try to live by. When I come across something that I might be scared to do or worried of the outcome I remember that this is my only shot at that opportunity. I suppose that’s why I’m in London right now. When I was deciding whether or not I was going to invest in myself, further my education as a designer and study abroad a friend asked me one question “If you didn’t, would you regret it later in life?” My decision was made right then and there.
So to connect back to what this post is all about, yesterday, when I came out of Westminster Abbey I saw an older man off to the side painting the Parliament buildings on an easel. Having recently been inspired from the David Hockney exhibit in town, I bought my first set of Acrylic paints to explore painting for the first time. Seizing the opportunity, I decided to sit next to him and ask him some questions to pick up a few tips of how to paint. It turned out he was a semi-retired architect who has worked all over the world. He even had friends who had worked with Le Corbusier back in the day. We sat there on the step for hours talking about garden design, architecture, and how the world has changed before his eyes over the past 70 years. When it came time to move on I shook his hand in appreciation for his stories and carried on my way.
As I made my way down the road I realized how important it is take the time and the opportunity to listen and share our stories. They can inspire us, change our minds, open our minds, heal and possibly create a new path for us to walk down. As a designer they create the richest content for a concept. They create avenues to research and explore bringing depth to your design. They allow your designer to grow a better sense of who you are enabling them to design a space that encapsulates you.