...underneath the advertising, behind the glitz and dazzle of the big show, there is invariably the purloined work of an artist...

There are two me’s: the fine artist and the designer. On the surface, they are kept separate but of course, one informs the other.

As a scenographer, I work in a fast-paced, schedule-driven, budget-conscious environment. One has to adapt intellectually to a client's needs. Whether it's a movie, an event, or a TV ad, the designer's mind must quickly and confidently grasp the essential nature behind a scene, story, or brand.

There is a discipline to lending one's mind to an external concern. In a tough activity, such as executing an international brand campaign, where there's multiple agency involvement, more than one production company and several sub-clients, all with attending concerns, failure usually results from the mission creep of undisciplined thought. Design is applied intellect. It is not a computer application.

In the course of action, the first victim is often clarity. The first job of a designer is to rediscover the line that connects the myriad concerns, dispel the blur of development, and focus on the true intent. From this clarity comes process, and with that comes solutions. The un-doable is often rendered doable, not by some brilliant high-tech application, or by throwing money at a problem (though each may play its part), but by understanding time and its all too finite role in a production process.

Given enough time, ten thousand Bonobos will produce an MIT graduate... But in the crazy world of the countdown clock–the show must go on, a disciplined designer will fold time management into conceptualization. Between A & Z, the process must be made fungible (the Dickensian not the Keynesian usage!).

As a fine artist, I do not put myself out for hire. Early in my artistic career, I chose to disembark from the gallery-to-museum fun bus. The art world of the 80's was not unlike padded shoulders and big hair– embarrassing to look back on, even for the retro-heads amongst us. It was important, in the time of Reagan & Thatcher (that time of greed & neglect), to continue to work, but to do so quietly and avoid a corrupting system. I will defend my stance as being justified, all the more so, considering our recent culture of financial and institutional corruption. Yet, one supports great institutions and I realize they too can be the victims.

I suspect, like science, art is intellect of some sort. My knowledge as a working artist is of a good order; my understanding of the nature of these things is the overall pursuit of my life. When clients hire me as a designer, that continual knowing comes with me—it doesn't have a binary switch. How often does any of this come to bear on the building of stages or the design of a room-sized prop? What has Shakespeare or Rubens, Inigo Jones or show tunes got to do with it? Well, everything, everyday and every time.

The choices I make for myself, or on behalf of a client, are informed by a sensibility that reaches beyond a showy light. The intellect traverses the disciplines; this is the only way to even begin to have a stratagem that claims to combine art with technology. The Techno-Romantics tend to believe they can unite art & technology; this is a disservice to both, and is usually more tech than art, and often a sterile demonstration of capability.


Your Well-wisher,




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