I’ve noticed some interesting patterns lately in my conversations with people. When we are too close to our own stuff, we can’t see what needs to change. We can’t see what doesn’t make sense.
The hierarchy of information is a critical thing. Especially when you have only an instant to capture a person’s attention. When someone visits your website they need to “get” what your business is about and what you can do for them in a few seconds. It can’t be buried down the page or tucked into the third subhead of your copy. It needs to stand out and be clear. Which also means YOU need to be clear! Clear about what you do and what you’re about.
This year my edict is about Expression. How I express myself in my business, my life, my relationships. Being real. And to do a course correct when I catch myself being less than in any area of my life. This year, more than ever, I want to fully live!
Today I’m writing this newsletter while I’m visiting my son in Washington D.C. for his 24th birthday. I’ve been promising him a visit since he moved here four years ago. Finally I’ve made it happen. It took me until recently to fully comprehend that this is MY LIFE! When was I going to live it, if not now?!
We’ve been spending time doing one of our favorite things… visiting art museums! We spent time in the National Gallery of Art where we viewed a beautiful painting by Leonardo de Vinci. We also spent quite a lot of time analyzing the Hieronymus Bosch painting entitled, “Death of a Miser”. This painting is very interesting on so many levels—the true meaning of life and what we value. Paying attention to where we get trapped in our own narrow view of what’s important.
Next we visited the Hirschhorn where we experienced the exhibit, “Days of Endless Time”. One of my favorite pieces in this exhibit was titled, “Shadow Play”, where very common objects were mounted on turntables and a very bright spot light was shown on each collection of objects.
One of my most vivid memories from art history class was my teacher telling us, “An artist’s work is a depiction of their time and place in history.” The “Days of Endless Time” presented fourteen installations that “…offer prismatic vantage points into the suspension and attenuation of time or that create a sense of timelessness.” This exhibition is in direct contrast to our 24/7 world of fast-paced digital media. It was lovely to view these works which emphasized “slower, more meditative forms of perception.”
There must have been seven or eight turntable lined up on a long table in darkened room, with each turntable slowly spinning. The images cast a long shadow on the wall. The objects overlapped as they circled around creating an eerie yet oddly soothing effect. It reminded me of a child’s bedtime lamp and the shadows that get cast in the room from common objects.
What all of these pieces art brought up for me was remembering what is important. How does an artist decide which elements to include in a painting or a video, and what to leave out? Every brush stroke, every color, every thing that is included in a piece of art has meaning for the artist, and therefore the viewer. The minimalism of a Calder mobile or an entire video of a tree moving in the wind was created and designed with choice.
This simplicity of message is what drives my work with clients. When I work with clients I create hierarchies of information that do away with the clutter of too many words and images would fall away and the clear, intended message come forward. My goal is to reveal the essential elements that need to be shown. To remain focused on expression and design with truth and purpose.
Love and beauty,