A fairly ubiquitous question, “What is the point?” has been asked about nearly everything. What is the point of life? What is the point of going to college? What is the point of getting married? What is the point of having one double cheeseburger at McDonalds being called a McDouble and one being called a Double Cheeseburger when the only difference is that the former simply has one less piece of cheese…? Alas, the conundrums and circular arguments that have arisen from this very simple and multi-utilitarian question are endless.
But what if there were an answer that when applied to art was a comprehensive artistic philosophy and when applied to anything else was a roadmap towards comprehensive living? Now Im not trying to hype this up too much, but I think this philosophy really does go that that far in some ways. In another manner of speaking, what I am talking about is not simply an idea that sums up how I do art, but really sums how I do everything and view the world, because it isn’t some philosophy that I am stapling into my “design life” for the sake of having one, but rather a idea that sums up the way I see existence as a human being. So I have to say that I think the answer to life, the universe and everything is quite sincerely “Design”.
What is design? Avoiding the other ridiculous question what is art, I will simply answer that I think design is creating in a orderly, intentional manner that is self aware. Self aware meaning among other things that the end goal includes something that is intangible. Typically this is beauty or attractiveness such as in most commercial art, but sometimes other intangibles are pursued like sadness, or fear as in many abstract expressionist works. The interesting thing is that intangibles rely on our interpretation of them to exist at all. So then, I think design it is something that is very human.
I don’t really think that other creatures design. Some animals such as spiders make incredible webs that we interpret as possessing some intangible, but they are neither intending this beauty, nor ( more importantly ) were they aware that it existed. So I think by definition you would have to be human in order to comprehend design, because you have to be human to comprehend the intangibles. I really believe that it is something that is unique to our nature and really what defines us.
How does this effect my art?
The question is what is the point of art? And the answer is design. If I ask it in different terms we get this: What is the point of design? Design. It is as circular as you can get and yet this is precisely what I mean. The point of the thing is the thing itself. The point of being an artist or a designer is creating in a orderly, intentional manner that is self aware. When we create the point is to design. If we are missing any of these components- Order, Intention, Self Awareness – we are missing the point itself.
When I design then, I actually design. When I create a layout for that CD cover it is done with order, intention and self awareness. Things don’t happen on accident and I have an intangible in mind for the end – I work towards that intangible and what I am doing is intentional in that regard. What I am doing isn’t just a bunch of robotic action that spits out memorized muscle movements and thought processes, and techniques. I aim to reflect something more than function, or productivity, I am to be doing in my work what defines us as a sentient beings and what I think is the point, really, in life. Designing.
How does this effect my life?
If you think about it everything is designing. What kind of person you are, the things you do, the things you create we should be designing, creating in a orderly, intentional manner that is self aware.
On a functional level, I can design through music, I can design through writing as much as I can through InDesign, Dreamweaver or a pen and paper. I can design through visual means or I can design through auditory means, the process is the same the only difference is how I am carrying that human process out.
On a more metaphysical stream my spiritual beliefs or moral beliefs are being used to design in the same way. Each decision I make for right or wrong is a creation and each creation should be made in an orderly, intentional and self aware manner.
The point in Art as well as the rest of life is to design. I design because I am human. And I design so that the outcome is more than what I started with.
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