November 3, 2010

Leo Lionni - The Urge to Make Things

Leo Lionni, was best known as an author and illustrator. Even though his roots are grounded in painting in which he was part of the futurist, and avant-guard movement's in italy in the 1930's. Only after going to school for and graduating with a degree in economics did he make a shift towards advertising. 

At the end of the 1930's he moved to Philadelphia and went into advertising primarily and in the process becoming quite successful. He later went on to work as an art director and in his final years making himself an accomplished children's book's author and illustrator of which he created as many as 40. I myself remember seeing his books growing up. 

Lionni, mention's the "magic moment of pure making, when suddenly all interferences vanish, leaving the hands free to perform their assigned task swiftly, lightly, and with deserved arrogance." This is such a great description of the ideal work environment. I find myself far too distracted at home and I thank god for giving us studio space here at KCAI. 

Lionni, though obsessed with the beauty in the world around him has taken it all in and used it to push his ideas further into fruition. I mean just look at the variety of studies he has done. He studied economics but he saw the beauty in art and but retained the business mind of an economics major. Design for others became his goal. He went into advertising to gain exposure and financial success while in a creative business orientated field. Later reaching a point in his career in which he could practice a more pure form of creativity in the authorship and illustration of children's books. This speaks volumes about the amount of diversity of education and life experience we as designers must attain to become successful. Maybe in a sense even above monetary value. 

Lionni, was fortunate enough to come reach a point of success in which he could switch his direction into something he loved more than advertising design. Not all of us will have that luxury. So we must be driven as creative people armed with a better understanding of the world around us and its needs. The distance separating whole of humanity has drastically shrunk in size with modern technology and thus the problems in the world are brought to light unlike ever before. There is no shortage of work for us as designers to solve at least the best we can with what tools we have even at this point in our careers. 

1 comment:

jamie said...

A very nice response Eli - offering both a personal point of view and thoroughly researched.

Glad to hear that you are embracing the studio environment here!