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.

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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.

This. (While I’m still off staining and mosaicing)

I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike the pretentious lexicon of the design/arch industry. I find it to be completely ridiculous, off-putting and elitist in the worst possible way. It’s a huge issue for me and I have gone toe to toe with more than one peer over it. I’m sure I will in the future, too. It’s one of the ways I think the industry needs to *SERIOUSLY* get over itself.

Apparently, I’m not the only one.

Oh yes. Yessssss……

Furniture project part 6.2: the second side of the case.

Long time, no progress. Unfortunately, some rather serious real-world things have kept me away from continuing on this project as fast as I’d like. However I just finished the second side of the case so I figured I’d post a photo.

DSC_4065

You can check out either of the previous tutorials on how to accomplish this. I don’t need to rehash it a third time. I do have to blot off just a tiny bit more of the purple stain, though.

While this dries enough for me to set the case upright again so I can get to the top, front, and back, I am going to be working on the long drawer front. I got some new tile, also. $24 worth. Basically I ran out of the two pink colors there on the lower left about 3/4 of the way through that circle, so I needed to grab those. However I have realized that though I own a lot of tile (like, a lot.), it’s heavily tilted towards blues and greens. There’s a lot of under-representation of several other colors, and I wanted to be able to provide a balance on the piece. So I wound up getting six bags. The two pink colors you see there, so I could finish up that circle, a bright red, a sort of a black with white speckles, a metallic blue/copper swirl and a red-violet. I had meant to grab some orange as well, but unfortunately there were no small bags of orange tile to be found- it only was available in 1/2 lb. bags, and I really, REALLY don’t know why I’d need 1/2 lb. of orange tile. I may try to find some online, though.

Right now Im on track for finishing up this project by the end of the summer, since it’s going to need a lot of finishing to make it look nice and smooth.

Oh also, and this is totally unrelated? I want to thank Jennifer from Design Hole (which is a design blog everyone should be reading, because she’s very talented and updates way more often than I do.) , because she really made my day yesterday, even though she probably doesn’t know that.

Jennifer had written a post about (of all things) Motel 6, and their proposed new look. Knowing that I love, love, love hospitality design (really, it’s my second favorite design topic only because you know, there’s no food involved), she shot me an email specifically asking for my opinion on it. Which I thought was really very kind and flattering and made my day, honestly. So thanks, Jennifer. 🙂

I don’t think I’m back yet, but..

Honestly, I don’t think I’m back yet.  Things remain in a state where I’m not feeling too good about posting much of anything anywhere, and I have no idea when things will begin to straighten out.

I am really only popping up to mention that I actually, miraculously, made the Designboom Crystal Vision contest deadline (which is tomorrow), by submitting my entry at some obscene hour of the morning this morning.  Apparently, they have over 4,000 entries at this time, so my chances of winning aren’t great- I am sure there’s lots of great designs and products out there.  Still, I’m glad to have made the deadline (I am now, rather with trepidation, reviewing the submission to check for typos. )

Project in Miami continues.  Clients still lovely.  Doing endless small revisions which matter in the long run, but are fussy and time consuming.  Looking forward to handing over all the plans/elevations/sections/details, and The Big Book to the clients for review.

I’ve seen some great stuff posted elsewhere recently (since clearly I have nothing good to say), but in particular, today, this showed up at Design Hole, and Dezeen has the goods on the new “fabric concept car” from BMW.

No, seriously guys- checkkit:

I’m going to go bury myself in AutoCAD again now- I just know I’m going to need to make shop drawings…

Starting the week off right.

Considering how much I slept this weekend (which was a fair bit), I got a surprising amount done on my to-do list. Of course, there’s still plenty on it so it’s back to the usual frantic multitasking today.

In the meantime, Tori sent me a link to the site of Dutch designer Jonas Samson. Go go gadget industrial design! He has a lot of really nifty products over there that are certainly worth looking at, but what’s really caught my eye is this light-emitting wallpaper.

No, seriously, I meant that.

This would be the only wallpaper to catch my interest in years.  I have no idea how it works, so don’t ask me.  But unless it’s emitting high levels of radiation or something, that’s pretty damned cool.  I sure could get a lot of mileage out of something like that, I tell you what.

Go have a look at his site- there’s a variety of interesting things there. And thanks to Tori for the heads up!

Back to work for me…