My son, Ellis graduated from Vermont Commons School in South Burlington last Friday. I had this messenger bag made for him. This is no ordinary messenger bag. It’s his own design. The first image is the bag Ellis designed and constructed for his art school portfolio. The leather bag was made at Champlain Leather in Burlington, Vermont. The folks at Champlain Leather went above and beyond to redo something that I had not been clear about. If you ever need or want some leather work done, I highly recommend this operation. Ellis was thrilled with the bag. I hope that carrying a bag of his own design is a reminder of the many possibilities and directions you can explore as a designer.
I can’t wait to see what Ellis will be creating at The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design this fall. Here’s to ALL of America’s graduates—”The world is your oyster”. Admittedly the world for our graduates now is very challenging, sometimes tainted and hard to access from a lot of vantage points. So, “the world is your oyster” has a lot of resonance in these challenging times. But striving toward things that spark you is always worth the effort and challenge.
I shot this photo of the bracelets at Champlain Leather in Burlington, Vermont yesterday. For some reason after I downloaded the photo I kept thinking about the image and I kept seeing the photo (in my mind’s eye) turning into something else. Well, at midnight I finally got the chance to see create what I was seeing in my head. Funny, how a rather ordinary picture of leather bracelets can end up looking like an art deco print. I love what the American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch says that French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard said, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Ain’t that the truth.
Here is the Jim Jarmusch quote in its entirety.
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”