"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." — George Bernard Shaw
Though I'm ashamed to admit I know next to nothing about GBS, the above quote has been a favorite of mine for sometime. Some might say argue that I fancy myself the Unreasonable Man. Some might say I'm just unreasonable.
Regardless, the quote has recently inspired me to be at the very least a bit headstrong. Having recently lost a position doing something I've done reasonably well for over a decade, I found myself with no desire to pursue doing it any longer. Arguably an unreasonable attitude. Particularly when one considers that I haven't known with any certainty what I am going to do. The inspiration I found in the quote – and it is certainly a self-serving reading – is to embrace this lack of reason in the interest of progress. And on a very gratifying personal level it's paid off. Over the past month and a half I've found myself gradually pulled, almost imperceptibly at first, (back) towards a desire to produce art. Not necessarily to create Art with a capital "A" mind you (I wouldn't be that presumptuous), but simply to create solely for my own gratification and edification. And that's progress.
The piece above represents the initial expression of that desire. The first piece of "design for art's sake" I've produced in years, it is maybe rather obvious, maybe not. The first panel of the first of two triptychs I've completed so far, it was effectively produced out of a stream of consciousness sort of state with the whole never predetermined. So too much shouldn't be read on the surface. However, anyone looking at it – and familiar with Shepard Fairey's iconic and ubiquitous Barack Obama "Hope" poster – would be forgiven for reading it as an obscure homage or – in a less sympathetic reading – a clumsy rip-off. It's neither. And, as much as I like the man, Obama – contrary to popular belief – does not own "hope". However, if it is either, it is only through a surreptitious act of my sub-conscious. And, I'd hate to dismiss all the other influences that seem to have informed – some more sublty than others – the piece as a whole.
In the recent past, when I've been inspired to design with "art" as the intent (in the last twelve years, an act typically undertaken with keyboard and mouse), the work has generally gone unproduced – destined to spend it's life as a series of 1s and 0s on some harddrive or another. This time I've decided to change that and have vowed to myself to produce work – to bring the work to life in a tangible form.
So, with no expectations of what may ultimately come of it, I'm talking with a former co-worker, designer, print-maker extraordinaire, Billy Baumann of Delicious Design League to help me begin by producing the above as an edition of 20"x30" silk screened posters. Panels 2 and 3 of The Unreasonable Triptych – Apologize and Doomed, respectively – to be produced soon thereafter followed by The Substantial Triptych.
Here's to being unreasonable...