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.”

To-Dos

Be open to moments. Mind history. Work miracles.


Please consider supporting Design Feast
If you liked this lovingly-made write-up, show your appreciation by helping to support my labor of love—Design Feast, which proudly includes this blog. Learn more.