Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Episode 57: Communion and Commerce

With more and more designers are offering advice that sounds like life coaching or therapy. Jessica worries that these paths to happiness, however appealing, are too facile:

The short inspirational quote, the draw on this page of the coloring book, the follow this thing=E2=80=A6 People like to know that there is an enumerated series of things they have to do to get to the next thing.

Alas, life is rarely an enumerated series of things.

And Michael says that making things can be soothing, but the thing itself is the point:

Whether you’re a carpenter or a writer, you paint on canvas or you paint rooms or hang wallpaper, you know shortcuts, you know things that help you achieve that craft. Still there’s a degree of skill that you master along the way that can be a form of therapy, but that’s just a byproduct of the actual work that’s being done.

Also mentioned:
  • Yusaku Maezawa with his new Basquiat on Instagram
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (1981) at the Broad museum
  • Cathleen McGuigan, New York Times Magazine, New Art, New Money
  • Sotheby’s,highlights from the Basquiat auction
  • SAMO Graffiti Notebook at the Beinecke Library
  • Wikipedia list of most expensive paintings
  • Kara Cutruzzula, The Rise of the Designer as Life Coach
  • Jessica on the Next Stage project
  • Thomas de Monchaux, Have You Ever Had an Intense Experience of Mystical Communion with the Universe, Life, God, etc?
  • Wendy Lesser, You Say to Brick:The Life of Louis Kahn
  • Nathaniel Kahn, My Architect
  • Janelle Shane, New paint colors invented by neural network
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    Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

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