“Six years ago, I didn't even know what design really was. All I really knew was how to sketch, measure, mix colors, create shapes, utilize line, and perfect craftsmanship.”
“Do you ever think that you could be an artist again?”
Someone recently asked me this question. I sat for a moment and thought to myself. After a few moments I responded, “No I don’t think I’d have the patience.”
There was a time in my life when all I wanted to be was an ‘artist.’
“When I grow up, I’m going to paint in Paris,” I would tell my mom as I sat at the kitchen table with my watercolors. I kept this dream close to my heart until I was about 18 years old. I remember standing in the art classroom as a senior and picking up my final portfolio of work. I had taken the Advanced Placement Art Course two years in a row and was bored. I looked down at my portfolio and saw a note from my teacher. It read,
“What are you going to do with your talent? Will you become an illustrator or a graphic designer?”
‘Well’, I thought to myself, ‘I hadn’t thought about either.’ As I write this now, I almost have to laugh to myself. Six years ago, I didn’t even know what design really was. All I really knew was how to sketch, measure, mix colors, create shapes, utilize line, and perfect craftsmanship.
Six years ago, I knew a lot. I think it’s really easy to forget almost all of those things. How many designers today (and I include myself in this group) sit down at their computers and immediately try to create the masterpiece. If you told a painter, “Hey, I need a detailed oil painting of my childhood home to give to my mother for her birthday. But I need it, like, ASAP,” they would laugh at you.
I’m not suggesting that art and design are mutually exclusive. I do believe that, as designers, we need to assess our projects and find the balance in our involvement. There will be projects where we will have more artistic freedom and other projects that will be very straightforward.
We aren’t just operators of software or vector-making-machines. We’re well rounded. We enjoy reading, learning new skills, we speak multiple languages, appreciate great food and music, and we create art. We need to remember that we ARE artists.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?