March 8, 2014

Wisdom at CreativeMornings: Maira Kalman, George Lois, Milton Glaser

Audience at CreativeMornings/New York gathering with Maira Kalman. Photograph by Katherine Miles Jones

At the New York chapter of CreativeMornings, three creative legends shared their experience to keep exploring and knowing.

Maira Kalman on Moments

Photograph by Katherine Miles Jones

Maira Kalman has illustrated many covers for The New Yorker and writes children’s books. In her CreativeMornings/New York talk, traveling was a refrain. Wandering has informed her imagination of what to draw next. Whether it’s a short walk or a long trip, moving unveils moments. Moments inspire Kalman. Not visibly striking moments, rather, easy-to-ignore moments. Kalman is herself a hidden camera. She looks and zooms in on a composition, harnessing her, what ethnographer Steve Portigal calls, “noticing power.” Kalman encouraged an intuition of moments: “To be very aware of the moment. Greatest moments are when you’re on your own, you’re wandering around, and when you’re not with somebody else, and you encounter these kind of celestial moments that send you into a really incredible place.”

George Lois on History

Photograph by Katherine Miles Jones

Advertising designer George Lois qualified the context of his work with the phrase “It was a time when… .” Lois’ presentation was a slice of history seasoned by remarkable people and events. His work advertised products and, at the same time, advertised the unique circumstances of the time. Lois’ insistent lens on context encouraged the present tense and its past, summarized in this instruction that he inserted throughout his talk: “You have to understand what was going on in those days.”

Milton Glaser on Miracles

Photograph by Emily Gilbert and Chasi Annexy

When asked after his talk about what his greatest achievement has been, artist and designer Milton Glaser answered, “Staying alive.” This is a fact, easily overlooked: every breath allows the opportunity to create something new. Glaser expressed gratitude to wake up each day, go to his workplace, and try again to make good work—a circle of miracles. Glaser encouraged “the pursuit of miracles”: “The idea of making something that moves minds is a profound miracle.”


Be open to moments. Mind history. Work miracles.

Support Design Feast on Patreon!
Your visiting means a lot. Lots of hours are put into making Design Feast—because it’s a labor of love to provide creative culture to everyone. If you are able to contribute, please consider becoming a Patron to support this long-term passion project of mine with a recurring monthly donation—every bit of support makes a difference in allowing me to generate all of this content on a regular basis. Thank you for your consideration!