Thursday, November 3, 2011

Saul Bass: On Making Money vs Quality Work

I think this is an appropriate follow up to my post yesterday. I admire Saul's attitude as he states it: "I want to make beautiful things even if nobody cares." That really shows pure motives and I think that approach is a good one to have in anything that we do whether it be art or doing the dishes. We should do it out of love for what we're doing or for whom we're doing it, even if they don't care.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Value of Art

A few weeks ago when I was questioning the value of art in comparison to other fields that I could be going into, my mom shared this quote with me that I believe the grandmother of E. W. Bok would say to him: "Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it."

I like the idea of making the world a better place through my art. It's just hard to feel sometimes that art makes that much of a difference because in most cases it seems to be such a subtle, almost imperceptible difference that is difficult to measure or quantify. Thus, to the left-brained world, or the world of definite right and wrong, art is of little value because the left-brain doesn't understand it because art cannot be evaluated in the same way that a math problem can be evaluated with clear-cut answers.

However, the fact that some people do not place very much value on art does not diminish it's inherent value. The value of art is a truth that holds strong regardless of people's perceptions of it, similar to the truth that a person's value doesn't change in the sight of God depending on what other people may think of that person. He or she is still every bit as valuable even if other people fail to acknowledge that value.

Whether we realize it or not, the art around us -- be it architecture,  interior design,  graphic design or whatever form of art -- effects us in some way. A beautiful environment has the natural effect of pleasing the senses and gladdening the heart. An ugly environment has the opposite effect.

Indeed, art has great value. It just needs to be understood and appreciated on a different level than other things that might have more obvious value. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Peace of Wild Things

My professor read this poem to us this week and I really liked it. A friend told me recently that I worry too much and that I shouldn't pollute my life so much with worries about things that, 90% of which, aren't even going to happen. So, I'm trying to cure myself of my addiction to worry. I thought this poem related well. It's called "The Peace of Wild Things:"

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

  -- Wendell Berry 

I believe Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. As expressed in the Book of Mormon "men are that they might have joy." Heavenly Father has given us everything and has given us this beautiful Earth, all for the intent that we might have joy. So, it's important to recognize the blessings he's given us and to look forward to the future with confidence that things will work out well in the end regardless of the unhappy things that might befall us in the mean time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Magazines we read

In my publications design class the other day we had a discussion on magazines. I realized that most of the magazines my professor had brought in as examples of good design were ones that I wasn't really familiar with. It made me think about the purpose of magazines and what makes us want to read certain magazines over others.

I realized that since I've been at college I haven't really read magazines much. It takes a lot of time for one thing, and they're expensive. So, of course I'm not going to read them! But as a kid, my parents subscribed to a few magazines from time to time that I would read or that my mom would read to me when I was little. They included: Baby Bug, Cricket, Ranger Rick, Guidepost, Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Time, The Economist, The Friend, The New Era and the Ensign.

What magazines did you read growing up (or still read)?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bike rides = bonding

This evening I went on a bike ride with a friend. It was a short little ride, but just what I needed. It was so nice to be outside after being inside most of the day stressing over my assignments and other things. And it was nice to have good company. We enjoyed catching up on each other's lives, observing a herd of deer (I'm pretty sure I counted ten!), and breathing in the fresh air emanating from the groves of fruit trees that we rode past.

My friend observed that bike rides are wonderful things and that she's had some special moments riding bikes with other people. I would have to agree. Some of the most pleasant times that I've had have been spent riding my bike with a friend.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Little Snail

When I got home from work this evening the grass was wet from the rain. It was dark, so it wasn't until I got inside under the dim lights of my basement apartment that I noticed a little friend who had attached himself to my shoe.

It was the cutest little snail I've ever seen: his little snail body so transparent that I could see his internal organs and his shell so delicate that it could have been a thin layer of crystallized sugar.

So, I had to document this little guy before I released him onto the leaf of a tulip plant. I wonder how long it will take him to grow into a big snail. What do snails even eat? And I wonder what he will do in the winter. Maybe he'll stay huddled up in his little shell until he defrosts in the spring? I sure would like to know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Collecting Things

Today we had an interesting discussion in my print media class on collectors. People collect interesting things. One girl in my class said she collected bones and a boy in my class said he collects hair, of all things!

I realized that I've collected a lot of things over the years, but as a college student who moves around a lot, I've tried not to collect so much. But, since I've been in the design program, I've taken up collecting design specimens, whether it's tags from clothing, letter heads, or pamphlets that I admired. I also have an infatuation with journals. While I was in Malaysia I bought several little journals that had interesting designs from the ubiquitous little paper stores that I'd come across at almost every little shop lot. Whenever I go into a bookstore anywhere I find myself fighting the temptation to look at the journals. However, according to my professor, this is a good thing to collect and he encourages me to continue.

When I was little I collected shells, rocks, leaves, and pressed flowers. I collected stickers and coins. Once I collected Ferrero Rocher wrappers and wadded them up into a ball the size of a baseball at which point no more wrappers would stick. Then I kept a page of the stickers from the wrappers in a little book. I've also collected almost every letter or card I've ever received.

That's a lot of collecting - some of it probably more worth while than others. What do you collect?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Being Alive

Today I was talking to my friend about recreational activities and what it meant to his family growing up to participate in such activities together. His family would ski together, go boating together, hiking, canyoneering, etc. He said that such activities helped his family grow closer. It really is impressive how such activities strengthen relationships.

I can say the same for my family. When you're doing something active you feel good about yourself, you feel healthy, energized and confident. I think those positive feelings about yourself also help you feel positive towards others and naturally that would strengthen any relationship. So, I definitely believe doing recreational activities together is something worth making time for.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's all about giving

Here's a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that my mom shared with me:

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give." 

I've been thinking about that lately - how everything that we do somehow affects others, whether it be for good or bad.

Some may think that design or art has little value compared to other vocations, and I am tempted to agree, but it does have great value in the sense that it improves the quality of life and gives enjoyment, although it isn't always noticed or appreciated.

I'm excited to be going into the field of graphic design to contribute to society by improving visual communication and delighting others with pleasing design.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Celebrate what's right with the world

About two years ago my teacher in the missionary training center showed us this movie and I just loved it so I had to share a clip from it. It really is amazing the difference our attitudes can make. Having a good attitude gives us positive energy that can be directed toward solving problems, whereas having a negative attitude only makes us angry and frustrated and doesn't help solve problems, but rather makes problems seem more daunting and hopeless. By seeing the good in the world, we are better able to confront what's wrong. Positive energy makes all the difference.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give - which is everything."

Happy day after Valentine's!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Appreciating in Appreciation

This last year I feel like I've grown to appreciate certain things in my life more. Being away from my family for a year and a half on my mission has made me appreciate their company more and the rare occasions when we are all together at once, as was the case this Christmas.

My art history class this last semester helped me to grow in appreciation of art because I learned how to understand it better.

I appreciate the difficult experiences that I've had that have helped me to learn and grow.

I appreciate more the good influences around me, those of my family and friends and good people in general.

Helping my sister take care of her two little kids, a very active two-year-old and a sweet two-month-old, has given me a greater appreciation of parents and the fatigue they must experience caring for children. I've also grown to appreciate the special moments that children provide: their sweet smiles and expressions of love in their excitement to see you and their cute little hugs. I went with my mom and little two-year-old Wally to the nursing home today to visit a friend and it was amazing to see the smiles on people's faces there just from seeing cute little Wally. It made me wish that I had a two-year-old of my own that I could take to the nursing home to brighten people's days.

It's moments like this when I come to appreciate or value something more than I did before that make me feel more awake to the world around me. It makes me feel more alive.