If you’ve been following the art I’ve been posting in the last year, you can probably see that my work has taken a decidedly historical turn. There’s a Portuguese word, saudade, that is used to refer to the longing or yearning for something in the past that might never return. I feel like I’ve lived my life half-obsessed by this sensation.
While there are amazing things in our present, it seems like there are far more amazing things in our past. Our art has become faster, and cheaper, with less attention to detail. The manuscripts I’ve been doing lately are not facsimiles of historical works of art. Though they take historical inspiration, they use modern design principles, and modern tools of the trade. Even so, they have allowed me to satisfy part of the craving I’ve had for too long, and slow down, illuminating each piece laboriously with hours of details.
I did some branding work for a friend recently and I felt like I had to rip myself bodily out of the cozy nest of nostalgia I’ve been living in. The creation of a perfect logo is its own art, but it has a different purpose: one tied up in an audience that by nature, will only see it for a moment, and will have to recognize it forever. Logos aren’t meant to be marveled at, only lived with, like every day white cereal bowls. Manuscripts are like the fine China you break out at the holidays. They are meant to be beautiful, complemented, and appreciated for their rarity.
Perhaps the key is finding some balance between what people want to invest themselves in, and what people will remember at a glance. Either way, as always, art is its own wild ride.