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quote of note

Quote of Note | Michael Bierut

thoughtsondesignPaul Rand admitted all his life that he was insecure as a writer. It was his passion for the subject that made him such an effective one. In his day job on Madison Avenue, he had learned the virtues of saying more with less. As a result, Thoughts on Design is almost as simple as a child’s storybook: short, clear sentences; vivid, playful illustrations. Ostensibly it is nothing more than a how-to book, illustrated with examples from the designer’s own portfolio. But in reality Thoughts on Design is a manifesto, a call to arms, and a ringing definition of what makes good design good. This, perhaps, has never been said better than in the book’s most quoted passage, the graceful free verse that begin’s Rand’s essay ‘The Beautiful and the Useful.’ Graphic design, he says, no matter what else it achieves, ‘is not good design if it is irrelevant.’”

-Designer extraordinaire Michael Bierut in the foreword to the new edition of Paul Rand‘s Thoughts on Design, back in print for the first time since the 1970s and published by Chronicle Books

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Quote of Note | Tom Hanks on Typewriters

groma“Remingtons from the 1930s go THICK THICK. Midcentury Royals sound like a voice repeating the word CHALK. CHALK. CHALK CHALK. Even the typewriters made for the dawning jet age (small enough to fit on the fold-down trays of the first 707s), like the Smith Corona Skyriter and the design masterpieces by Olivetti, go FITT FITT FITT like bullets from James Bond’s silenced Walther PPK. Composing on a Groma (pictured), exported to the West from a Communist country that no longer exists, is the sound of work, hard work. Close your eyes as you touch-type and you are a blacksmith shaping sentences hot out of the forge of your mind.”

-Tom Hanks, who has channeled his love of manual typewriters into a new iPad app, Hanx Writer

Quote of Note | Paul Hornschemeier on Giant Sloths

sloth

“There actually is a prehistoric giant sloth on the campus of the college I went to, Ohio State. I think it was vandalized sometime in the last couple of years, but I think they repaired it since then. I can’t remember which school it’s a part of. I want to say it’s the geology school. Whatever museum it’s in, a lot of the signage and a lot of the exhibits kind of feel like these leftovers from the ’70s and ’80s. It just always felt a little out of step with modern times. It just kind of had this very particular vibe that really stuck with me. But I didn’t really have the idea for the actual story….There was always something about the giant sloth, just being this creature that its modern day equivalent is so puny and so inconsequential. It’s funny, when I mention the film to some people, they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s funny, like a giant sloth.’ I’m like, ‘No, there really were giant sloths.’ A lot of people aren’t even necessarily aware of them. They were these gigantic, huge, powerful things the size of bears. So there was always a metaphor there in the back of my head.”

-Paul Hornschemeier on the slothful inspiration for his animated feature-in-the-making, Giant Sloth, starring Paul Giamatti as an insane museum curator

Quote of Note | Takashi Murakami

T_M

“I have this idea for a sweet comedy about death. A middle-aged author of e-books, with middling sales, retreats deep into the mountains of Japan to build a grave for his recently deceased father. After getting scammed out of all of his money, he falls into despair, but for some unknown reason he is visited by a savior in the form of a middle-aged woman. And then his divorced wife from ten years ago appears unexplainably too. Then this young woman with whom he spent a single night in a club many years ago is being treated for an incurable disease in the mountainside sanatorium, and she comes to him for emotional support. I’d love to do that story.”

-Artist Takashi Murakami discussing his filmmaking aspirations in a recent interview. Also on his wishlist? “Some form of a collaboration with J.J. Abrams.”

Quote of Note | Mitch Epstein

(Mitch Epstein)“I used to make pictures without thinking about how they would relate to one another as a series. When I went to Vietnam in the early ’90s to collaborate with a Vietnamese dissident writer, a novelist, I started to conceive of my individual pictures as part of a greater whole, as projects. I began to conceive of these projects as photographed from the inside out, not the other way around. In other words, I let go of the conventions of supposedly neutral ‘street photography’ and began to find ways to insert and invest myself into a situation and yet still remain somewhat detached. Family Business is an example where I photographed something I knew intimately and cared about deeply, but did so with emotional restraint. I’d absorbed my lessons from strict documentarians, which allowed me to make something personal without sentimentalizing it.” —Photographer Mitch Epstein

Pictured: Mitch Epstein, Flag (2000), from Family Business, a film and photographic project about Epstein’s father and the demise of the family furniture store.

Quote of Note | David Carr

stack-of-magazines“For the last six months, my magazines, once a beloved and essential part of my media diet, have been piling up, patiently waiting for some mindshare, only to be replaced by yet another pile that will go unread. I used to think that people who could not keep up with The New Yorker were shallow individuals with suspect priorities. Now I think of them as just another desperate fellow traveler, bobbing in a sea of information none of us will see to the bottom of. We remain adrift.”

-David Carr of The New York Times in his most recent “Media Equation” column, “Riding the Juggernaut That Left Print Behind

Quote of Note | Robert Motherwell

(Arnold Newman)“My mother was very literary. Also she had one of the greatest collections in America of eighteenth-century French Provincial furniture. She used to haunt auction houses for this and as a boy I often used to go with her. And there was a time when I could date any piece of French furniture within two years. I think it was a marvelous training of the eye because, you know, in the end the difference is the exact undulation of the curve, the materials, and so on and all the rest of it. All my life I’ve used earth colors a lot, especially yellow ochre and raw umber and so on; and I wouldn’t be surprised that a lot of it comes from constantly looking at waxed fruitwood furniture. She didn’t like the chichi town kind, you know, with gilt and all that, but the beautiful waxed fruitwood country furniture.”

-Artist Robert Motherwell in a 1971 interview conducted by Paul Cummings for the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art

Quote of Note | Mario Buatta

mario buatta FEAT

“My mother was a neurotic, and she hated dust–I think of dust as a protective coating for my furniture! If you lit a cigarette, she’d start cleaning out the already-clean ashtrays. She would vacuum herself out of the house. My father, who was a musician, would often come home late, and she could tell whether he was there or not by the footprints in the carpet.”

-Interior decorator and “prince of chintz” Mario Buatta in the New York Observer

Quote of Note | Ed Ruscha

hans memling“I can’t stop looking at this guy, because he looks like somebody on the street, like somebody I know. If you cut his hair a little different, he might be a baseball player—I don’t know. He could be José Canseco. He’s got a certain look that puts him into the twenty-first century. Most paintings of people do not, so it’s really unusual. Especially with Memling’s pictures, they sort of cross centuries. And I like to be aware of that. Every so often I’ll see someone on the street that looks to me like they’re from 1950—they’re dressed like they are today, in today’s clothing, but they still have a 1950 face. And this man has a twenty-first century face somehow.”

-Artist Ed Ruscha on Hans Memling‘s Portrait of a Man, c.1470, during a recent event at the Frick Collection

Quote of Note | Tomas Koolhaas

(Tomas Koolhaas)
Rem Koolhaas in Venice at sunset. (Photo: Tomas Koolhaas)

“Usually architecture documentaries really only appeal to viewers with a deep understanding of architectural concepts and jargon. I think by taking a more humanistic approach my film will appeal to anyone who can relate to other people….I don’t think it’s as black and white as either ‘architecture people’ or ‘general public.’ I think there are a lot of gradations in between. For example, creative people who can appreciate architecture but maybe are not interested enough to be very well versed in technical jargon or abreast of every element of architectural discourse. I think those people make up quite a large group and most architecture documentaries fail to engage them. It’s those kinds of people that my film could manage to reach. I don’t presume to think that a large portion of my audience is going to be people who don’t care about architecture at all, but I want there to be elements of the film that anyone can enjoy.”

-Tomas Koolhaas on the anticipated audience for the documentary (view trailer below) he is making about his father, architect Rem Koolhaas. Read the full interview in the new Rem-themed issue of CLOG.
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