If Jonathan Adler had listened to his pottery professor at art school, he would have quit being an artist and got a job as a lawyer. Luckily for us, he didn’t take her advice. Instead, he parlayed his wacky and shameless ideas into a hugely successful design career.
Everyone else may have already seen this, but since I don’t have cable, I just discovered Adler and his book My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living in the library on the weekend. Along with images of his delicious and uplifting designs, he peppers humorous anecdotes and strong opinions throughout the book. Below is an excerpt with Adler’s take on the contemporary artworld today, and his philosophy on design.
“When I look at the artworld today, I get pretty depressed. I think that somewhere along the way, people were tricked into believing that art has to be incomprehensible and skill-free and ugly. I totally reject that idea. I want my work to be communicative and beautiful and, I hope, impactful on an emotional level before an intellectual level.”
Jonathan and his talented window-dresser husband live happily together with their dog, Liberace.
2 Replies to “Trusting your instincts”
I was getting pretty depressed at art school when I had to critique art that met all the criteria of “incomprehensible, skill-free and ugly”. But worse still was the fact that art that was beautiful to my eyes was criticized for its accessibility and traditional mastery.
So I dropped out of art school to paint what I wanted to, and life is definitely anti-depressive these days!
Good for you, Mary Ann! Sounds like the work you are making fits how you see the world. There is tons of room for us all in the “art world”, whatever that is.
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