A Prayer for the Dying.

Yes. I know I don’t post here enough.

My friend Alis’ mom is dying.

This one sentence carries with it a whole huge story, as you might expect. But I’ll keep it fairly brief.  Due to a lack of money, Alis has been placed in the role of full time, 24 hour a day caretaker for her dying mother, even though she herself is disabled. Her mother has emphysema, and is not dying “eventually”.  She is dying “really soon.”.  The problem is that Alis gave up what little she had to care for her mother. When she dies, there is a very small life insurance policy whose proceeds will benefit Alis.  But there will be a delay  in time between when her mother’s death occurs, and when the life insurance policy pays out.  There is no money to cover this gap. Every penny they have has gone into her mother’s care.

I realize it is the holiday season and people are strapped for cash. So instead of just asking for people to help her out, I decided to create an egg so people could actually purchase something for their money that they  could then give as a gift. Seemed win-win all the way around. Alis gets a little help, the buyer gets a physical object for their money suitable for gift giving, and I don’t have to put out cash I *truly* don’t have to help the situation.

Alis’ mom was a collector of flow blue china.  This was endearing, as I hold a degree in restoration and historic preservation, and as people who know me well already know, ceramics hold a special place in my heart due to the influence of my dear (and now gone) friend Amy Kalina (I miss you, Amy.)  Because of how negative space works on eggs, I decided to reverse the colors and instead of using white with cobalt blue, did the egg in cobalt blue with white.

My soon(hey, everything is relative..) to exist egg site (eggrotech) isn’t ready yet (might help if I had started it past buying the domain name but never mind that now…). so I don’t know where else to do this- so it’s going here.

I’m putting this egg up for auction. Shipping to be paid by the winner.  Yes, I can ship internationally. No, I’ve never had one break in transit and I’ve sent eggs all over the world.  Yes, I will happily include an egg stand. No, I cannot *guarantee* you will get it by Christmas day.  I’ll do what I can, but it’s the holidays and if someone wins it overseas I just can’t guarantee it will make it in time.

If you’ve never seen one of my eggs before, here’s some things you should know:

1. This is a real egg. No, I’m not kidding. It’s a real egg.

2.  It’s a chicken egg. If you want to know how big it is, go into your kitchen, open your refrigerator, and remove an egg. There ya go.

3. Bearing point #2 in mind- these images are 2.5-3x life size.  They’re just there to show detail. Imperfections seen in the images are not always visible in real life.  The colors are blue and white.  Any red you see on the finish in the photos is just a reflection from my mug behind it.  There is no red color on the egg anywhere.  It has a semi-gloss finish.

4.  Yes, these are made by me. Well not the actual egg. I’m not a chicken.  The chicken does that part. I do the rest of it, though.

Click on any of these images in order to see them in a larger format.

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Bids will be taken through midnight December 15 2012, EST.

How do you bid?

You can:

leave a comment here at this post (this is easiest…)

You can send me a message via twitter at either my @damnedgoodesign or @djbronxelf accounts. I can update the post here to reflect the current price.

You can find me on SLU under Bronxelf.  If you message me there I’ll reflect the current price here.

You can find me on google chat if you already have my ID, or any number of other IM methods. Im pretty reachable, to be honest.

All proceeds other than the cost of shipping (which is extra) will go directly to Alis. I won’t touch the money other than the shipping, which has to go to me.

Bidding starts at $150 USD, the standard cost for one of my eggs (that isn’t black on the inside.).

Retweets, and any other forms of spreading the word on this are welcome. I’m just trying to help my very exhausted friend here.

Thanks a lot for reading, and have a happy new year, everyone.

-AK

The current price is: $250USD. (bid received through gtalk.)

Education is key. It will, however, only go so far.

The lovely and talented Su Butcher said things, here:

http://www.justpractising.com/its-about-money-stupid/architects-my-client-doesn%E2%80%99t-understand-me/

I’ll wait.

The video is short, and is not much different than the stuff I’ve seen on Clients from Hell, or heard, in fact from *every single* designer, artist or Architect I’ve ever known. The only difference is the designer says these things out loud, rather than just in their heads. Also, everything to me is funnier in a cartoon. Especially with robots. But I digress.

This video made me laugh. I know all too well how that blue robot feels. I know lots of other people who do too (Val and Dare, I’m looking at you two.. Ahem.) Interestingly, the bit that went around recently about the graphic designer who was asked by a co-worker to make a poster for a missing cat, seen here: http://www.27bslash6.com/missy.html had the opposite effect on me. Everyone seemed to think this was seriously hysterical and I thought it was not in the least bit funny.

Which brings me to why, on both counts. I told Su I’d post here because 140 characters wasn’t going to cut it. I always advocate for all design professionals to educate, educate, educate. It is KEY in what we do. Most people don’t have an understanding of what architects, designers and artists do, and really need to know more.

However, I want to make something really clear- there is a difference between people being educated about something, and people who don’t think that thing has any VALUE. In the former case, you may actually get real clients out of it. In the latter case, you *never will*. Im going to use the video as an example- the green robot time and again makes comparisons to people (his eight and a half year old nephew, for example) to the designer. This guy is not really ignorant. I mean, he might be, but no matter how many ways you explain to him how it works, and no matter how politely you do it, this guy *will never be a client*. Never. He has no respect for what you do *on top of* his ignorance. He’s not a potential client- he’s a bargain hunter. You can fix the ignorance. But the lack of respect will not change. People who just need educating have a different approach- “Hey, I need this thing done, but I have no idea how much it would cost or how much time it would take. I don’t have a lot of money, so could you please tell me what you think this would cost and how long it would be?” This person approaches a situation with respect, and admits up front they need help.

I see this same phenomenon *every day* in SL(because seeing it for years in RL wasn’t enough). People who will loudly and vocally swoon and sigh over clothing and announce how badly they want it- but ONLY if they can get it for free or at a steep discount. The moment they have to pay for it is the moment it becomes valueless to them. These people will never become shoppers. At best, all they will be is bargain hunters. “Is this real, or did you make it yourself?”

My philosophy is to simply cut them off at the pass and say you can’t help them. Ok, well I do that when it comes to design. I am FAR more creative when it comes to art. “I can make this myself!” Really? Can you get me a dozen of them by Friday? I’m low on stock.

Which brings me to the bit about the cat and the graphic designer. When there’s an actual emergency? A missing pet? A missing child? You either make the poster and STFU, or you tell them you can’t. You do NOT jerk them around. That’s not the same thing as the robot video. At all.

2010 Egg #6: Kai’s Egg.

Normally I don’t put egg posts here. I’m making an exception for this one because I want it to have a potentially wider audience, and this blog is public.

My friend Val has done a hell of a lot of things for people over the years, for the low, low price of free. Things that by rights, she should have been paid to do. She has never asked for a thing in return. For those of you who don’t know Val, she was Ms. March in the Lime Project calendar, as well as the person who did all the layout/graphic design/dealing with printers/art direction stuff for it (again, for the low, low price of free.)

A couple of weeks ago, she lost her dog, Kai. Kai’s illness was sudden and horrible, and put Val in the awful position of deciding to have her put down. However as anyone with pets knows, sudden catastrophic vet bills are very difficult to deal with. To read about what happened with Kai(because goodness knows, Val wrote eloquently about it), you can read the whole story here. I suggest having tissues nearby.

I’ll wait.

I’m putting this egg up for auction. It comes with the stand (not this one, this is my work stand….) All proceeds(I will cover shipping) will go to help Val recoup the money from the vet bills. She does know I’m doing this. I asked her what colors to make the egg. She wanted it to be like Kai’s fur. To that end (though these pictures DO NOT do it justice- lighting this one was so hard) the colors in this egg are a desert tan, khaki and black. The holes are ringed in gold, and the sealant has a gold wash coat.

I will run this auction until Tuesday March 30, at midnight, EST. All you need to do is bid in the comments. I can keep track of the current high bid by editing this post. Paypal preferred, since you can send the money directly to Val. Long as she tells me she has it in hand, I will ship this thing anywhere it needs to go.

Oh. I suppose I should post the photos. Oops.

I love you Val, and I am so sorry about Kai.

Bidding opens at $50USD.
Go.

ETA: Bid is currnetly at $150USD.

Defining our terms.

Art is not design.

Design is not art.

These concepts overlap, but they are not synonymous. Were we to create a Venn Diagram, it would illustrate this relationship perfectly.

Oh. Wait. I already did that.:

Before we go any further than this, we need to really define “art”. In this case there’s two definitions we need to be concerned with.

1. To say something beautiful, created by a person or people, is art.

A painting, a sculpture, a piece of music, a photograph, a ballet.  All of these are examples of which we are familiar.  There are many others, of course, but you get the idea.  To say that art is a beautiful thing is common and we know what that means when people say it.

2. To say a physical object, created by a person or people is challenging, describing, informing or otherwise making a social or cultural commentary.

These things may not necessarily be beautiful.  They *CAN* be and often are, but that’s not their primary purpose.  Their purpose is to get people to think about culture, relationships between people,  and society.  I tend to think of these things as “Art” and they are the stuff of which “Art pretension” thrives on.  They’re the sort of things that people stroke their chins over and say “hmm, yes” a lot about.

So having defined that for purposes of this post, I want to talk a little about design.

Design is purpose driven.  When you design a building, the building has a function. When you design a restaurant, that restaurant has a function.  The same thing can be said of anything one *designs*, from a catapult to a coffee machine.  You can design a knitting pattern and make a scarf. You can even use design in the process of making art- I map out a design for each egg that I create, but the finished product is not a design project. It’s a piece of art.  However, if I design someone’s kitchen, that’s a design project, no matter how pretty it is.

All of that brings me to a post that appeared yesterday on Dezeen.  Go have a good look. I’ll wait.

When I first saw this, the post had just gone up, and there were no comments to it yet. When I went back this morning, apparently I’m not the only one who wasn’t pleased. But what really bothers me is that the *supporters* of this work don’t seem to get that fundamentally, THIS IS NOT A DESIGN PROJECT. It’s an ART INSTALLATION.

Frankly, I think it’s a pretty good art installation.  I really mean that. I think that as *ART* (definition #2, though it’s not a bad looking object either) it works quite well. It conveys a clear message and provokes thought about the concepts it addresses.  In that sense, it’s very successful.

As a design project, this FAILS, completely.  It’s not *REALLY* a bookshelf.  It’s not. It’s designed to hold very specific books, intended to make a societal and/or cultural statement.  If you put other books on it, it ruins the intent of the artist (yes, I said it cause it’s not a design project and I’m not going to call it one.) So really, its only purpose is to make that statement, and no other. It does not serve *an actual function* beyond making the cultural statement.  The books, even though they’re being held by the shelf are only there *AS PART* of the overall statement.

It’s NOT DESIGN. It’s ART. I don’t think it’s BAD art, either. But It. Is. Not. Design.

Considering the fact that there are innumerable *DESIGNERS* creating oh, I don’t know, actual design projects that could be featured on what is supposed to be a design blog, the fact that Dezeen doesn’t seem to be too clear on what design is/is not and what art is/is not is… well pretty disappointing (yes, I do have a gift for understatement, why do you ask?)

Come on.  Show some damned design work.