“Q: Where did the idea come from? A: Our shows are usually about materials and color, or things like that. I liked the idea of this one because it’s about an emotion or a reaction: fear.”
From a Q&A interview between reporter Rima Suqi and designer Kiel Mead in The New York Times on March 8, 2012 (describing the genesis of an American Design Club show about “designer weapons” called “Threat: Objects for Defense and Protection”).
“Every work of art is a transcription of the efforts of an artist to breathe life into an idea, whether it’s a literal, naturalistic or graphic representation of objects, or a metaphorical interpretation of images the artist channels from inner sources.”
From “Natural Synthesis,” by Judith Fairly in the April 2012 issue of Artists Magazine (profiling painter Maya Brym).
“Though travel and life experiences, you learn about different cultures and types of people. Sociology first, design second. The more life experience you have, the more you can understand what is going to work.”
From a Q&A interview of architect and designer Paul D. Taylor by Vivian Marino in The New York Times on March 21, 2012 (answering the question: “Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?”).
I love it when ideas coincide. I witnessed that recently when I visited two exhibits at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Perhaps the curators can take credit for a wonderful case of synchronicity, perhaps not — what matters, is what I saw and felt.
I was startled when I walked up the stairs from the Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show into the gallery containing the clay sculptures of Stephen de Staebler. Both men have the human body as the basis for their work — but oh, how different the execution and the message! If I had seen these shows in separate venues, my experience would not have been as rich. Incredible how one show augmented the other.
The Gaultier show was, plain and simple, a spectacle. It ended up feeling like a huge sweet fatty meal that you shouldn’t have eaten. But whether or not you like or admire or even understand his fashion, it is the work of a human being — someone who has taken his influences and his experiences and his background and his education and everything else — and made his art. Gaultier’s art is about the body and its sensations — and ultimately, it made me laugh in kind of a what-the-hell way.
The de Staebler work most decidedly did not make me laugh. It did take my breath away, though, as I saw how the this artist had taken his influences and experiences and background and education and everything else — and made his art. De Staebler turned my thoughts to the idea of the body as the container of the spirit — to mortality and the Holocaust and the cost of war — to beauty in all its forms. And I felt deep gratitude that such work exists.
The Gaultier show closes August 19 and the de Staebler show closes May 13.
“Here is the Steinway grand he was given on his 50th birthday (though he composed in his head, not at the piano).”
From “Silent Symphonies” by Julian Barnes in the February 18-24, 2012 issue of The Economist (reflecting on what is to be seen and learned via a tour of the now-public home of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, who died in 1957).
Combining art with sprituality is an age-old idea that is always fresh. Consider Przemyslaw Wysoglad, a young Polish Jesuit priest who has written and illustrated a biography of St. Stanislaus Kostka — himself a young Polish Jesuit who died at age 17 in 1568 — in the form of a graphic novel that toggles between present times and the mid-16th century.
Why a graphic novel, and why the setting? Edward Schmidt asks these questions in his review of Father Wysoglad’s book — whose “print run of 1,000 copies, published by the Jesuit publisher WAM in Krakow, quickly sold out” — in the January 2-9, 2012 issue of America. The answers seem to do with accessibility.
“I grew up among artists, and so it was not hard for me to be interested in art … I’ve always been interested in telling stories rather than just making pictures, so for me the comic book is the best way to combine telling the story and making pictures,” the priest is quoted as saying. And having Kostka and his companions seeming to live now, with computers and cigartettes and modern ways to travel, yet be depicted against the backdrop of really old Europe — well, “at the beginning (readers) were rather skeptical about putting Stanislaus in modern society … But after reading this book they said … it was a good idea, because I showed them that in the 16th century youngsters had the same problems as today. That was my main idea.”
Father Wysogald sees art as prayer and as part of his Jesuit vocation, and has already received permission from his Jesuit superiors for a graphic novel about another Polish Jesuit, Peter Skarga.