Some of the most critical and guarded people can be found inside creative circles.
While creative people are generally perceived as insouciant and open- minded, most of those I’ve personally observed in my lifetime (designers, artists, writers, musicians, etc) tend to be more selective of the people they associate with or admire, than the average (admittedly less talented) lot.
Try observing any clique in the creative world- literary/ art/ design/ music groups have more complicated, mostly unspoken hierarchies and politicking than some conventional corporations.
Everybody knows it’s harder to penetrate these groups than getting Golf Club memberships, and even more difficult to get a steady form of validation once inside. Unless someone higher up proclaims you a genius. And even then, a whole lot of them will remain critical and unconvinced of your work.
It’s quite extraordinary then, to know of people who seamlessly penetrate not one, nor two, but more than five creative circles and manage to get approval in any one of those.
Meet husband and wife tandem Charles and Ray Eames, who are regarded as two of the most influential designers of the 20th Century in their prolific careers from 1930 to 1988.
In that amazing run, they’ve managed to dent architectural/ graphic/ furniture design theories by creating things beautifully functional that these works have survived them and are still measures of good taste to this very day.
The Eameses have successfully proven how design could indeed be one. They’ve dabbled not only in architecture, city- planning, furniture- making (most of their work with Herman Miller, like the ubiquitous Eames chair, have been huge successes), but also in graphic design, textile design, fine art, and even film.
This kind of span in creative work synthesizes and liberates different mediums of expression to prove Purists wrong. Although innate talent is another thing altogether, any one form of creativity should not be restrictive of others.
If you are a writer, you cannot say an architect cannot write (i.e. Vitruvius). If you are a filmmaker, you cannot say a designer cannot make films (i.e. Tom Ford). And so on.
I went to the Art Science Museum downtown with my parents a few weeks ago and saw the exhibition about the Eames couple’s works called Essential Eames: A Herman Miller Exhibition. It runs from 29 June 2013 to 5 January 2014. Head down there and get inspired.
Although this is not to say that one should “keep up with…” or directly mimic the impossible careers the Eameses have mapped out for future creatives. But that we should at least exercise all our personal creative faculties as much as we can, cliques and self- appointed geniuses be damned!
There is close to no lack of platforms for personal exploration and experimentation; for blurring more lines; for maybe discovering new aesthetic styles or asserting old ones. And luckily, laying all of these out on an open- planned space (be it an actual room or a cerebral nook inside your head) for reflection, appreciation, then ultimately, inspiration.
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