Today I've selected ten art and design-related YouTube videos that I hope will inspire and entertain you. The subjects run the gamut from fine art and graphic design to graphic novelists, but they have one thing in common: serious ass-kickery. Enjoy.
Josef Albers: Homage to the Square
Here is a discussion of a painting (‘Aurora’) from Josef Albers’ ‘Homage to the Square’ series. I wish I could go back in time and take a class with the famed Bauhaus/Black Mountain master who believed that color was a “magic force.”
Paul Rand Interview
“Most good things have a timeless quality” according to designer Paul Rand, and this interview with him (on a hopelessly 80’s cable access program) is no exception. Rand is a hero of graphic design; his timeless work (logo designs for IBM, ABC, UPS) and no-nonsense, utilitarian approach to design can be seen here. Rand didn’t offer clients many choices for the solution to a logo design assignment “for the same reason that a doctor doesn’t give you a million choices – if you’ve got a headache, he’ll give you an aspirin. He doesn't give you a choice between that and Ex-Lax.” Visit YouTube to watch parts 2 and 3 of this interview with the coolest dude that ever did it.
Charles Burns in 'Fear(s) of the Dark'
This is artist Charles Burns’ entry in the animated French film ‘Peur(s) du Noir’ (‘Fears of the Dark’). Burns is responsible for Black Hole, the best graphic novel you’ll ever read. He uses his beautifully stark illustration style to tell Cronenberg-ian tales of love and lust that are dark, creepy, and usually populated with mutants. This film isn't available on DVD yet but this YouTube version will tide me over until it is. Visit YouTube for Part II.
Paula Scher: Great Design is Serious (Not Solemn)
Here is Pentagram partner Paula Scher’s speech ‘Great Design Is Serious (Not Solemn)’. Ms. Scher is refreshingly honest about the joys and disappointments of her career; she admits that some of her best work occurred in situations where she was “totally and completely unqualified for the job.”
The artists at the Milwaukee-based design studio Aesthetic Apparatus discuss their inspirations and processes. You know how every Criterion DVD release looks more beautiful than a cold beer on a hot day? These guys are one of the reasons why.
Jeff Koons Interview
Art is a “vehicle that creates anxiety.” Jeff Koons is interviewed here by the Tate Museum in his New York studio. If Warhol's studio was a factory, then Koons' place is an industrial complex. Out of all the museums whose YouTube channels I've browsed over the last week, the Tate's was the most watchable.
David Carson: Design, Discovery, and Humor
This is a quite funny and amusing speech given by David Carson, a graphic designer famous for breaking/ignoring a lot of rules in his work. “Don’t mistake legibility for communication,” he says here. “Just because something’s legible doesn’t mean it communicates; more importantly, it doesn’t mean it communicates the right thing.”
Matt Groening: 'My Wasted Life'
This is part one of a BBC program called ‘My Wasted Life’ about Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Groening recalls the sweet surreality of his own youth as well as the cultural roots of Bart and the gang. My favorite Groening comic: Bongo's Dream House.
Jenny Holzer: PROTECT PROTECT (Whitney Exhibit)
This video considers the politics of Jenny Holzer’s work on view in 'PROTECT PROTECT' at the Whitney Museum. Jenny Holzer has always been one of my favorites due to her skill at uniting image and word; the intersection of visual and literary arts has been a lifelong fascination for me. See the Whitney exhibit this week; its last day on view is Sunday, May 31st.
Here is your new muse. Watch this video once a day and behold the wellspring of creativity that is sure to erupt from within your spirit.