Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Portrait of Milton Glaser

None of us, really, has the ability
to understand our path
until it's over.
~ Milton Glaser 

New York-based filmmaker, designer, and author Hillman Curtis has produced, as part of his Artist Series, a beautiful video on Milton Glaser. Glaser, co-founder with Clay Felk of New York magazine, is a renowned graphic designer and illustrator. His work, such as his poster of Bob Dylan for CBS Records and his I♥NY tourism campaign, is among the most famous and recognized in the world.

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In Curtis' portrait of this remarkable artist, we learn what Glaser thinks about being an artist/graphic designer, a teacher, a life-long learner:

I've always believed that the life of a designer is a life that is very much between two sensibilities: that  of the businessman and that of the artist. And everybody kind of has a sense of where they fit within that spectrum....

Art performs this pacifying function in culture... in that its practitioners create commonalities, they create things to gather about... Artists provide that gift to the culture, so that people have something in common. And I think all of us who identify with the role of artists in history have that intuition about things, and want our work to serve that purpose, certainly as much as we want our work to sell product. Although not everybody feels the same way about it.

It doesn't matter so much whether graphic design is an effective vehicle... You want to be operating within the life of your time. I mean you want do things that have some relationship to your community, to your family, to your city, to your country, to the world.

Fundamentally, I teach because it makes me feel good; it's helped me certainly clarify my own objectives. There is nothing more exciting than seeing someone whose life has been affected by, in a positive way, by something you've said. There's nothing more exciting to see somebody change from a sort of condition of inertness or inattentiveness into a mind that begins to inquire about meaning....

I think the most interesting thing one can say about one's later life is that if you can sustain your interest in what you're doing, you're an extremely fortunate person. . . I think what I feel fortunate about is that I am still astonished, that things still amaze me. And I think that's a great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears....

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Some other artists, designers, and filmmakers in the Artist Series are Lawrence Weiner, Mark Romanek, and Paula Scher

Short Films by Hillman Curtis

Commercials by Hillman Curtis

Hillman Curtis Books on Design and Film

Milton Glaser Works

Milton Glaser Books: Drawing Is Thinking (2008), Art Is Work (2008), The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics (2006), The Big Race (with Shirley Glaser), Milton Glaser: Graphic Design (1983)


M.L. Gallagher said...

What a wonderful find!

And I love what he says about never losing the art of astonishment because the world is an astonishing place.

Very cool!

Kathleen Overby said...

A man who is finishing well. And passing it on....

Anonymous said...

i like the milton video

S. Etole said...

The gift of amazement ... something to be treasured.

The Storialist said...

Thanks for continually passing on such inspiring resources.