Saturday, 11 July 2009

Nod Young.

I found this set of Nod Young's illustrations on Flickr. This is the caption that was under the image immediately above:
I am a follower of Buddhism and believe that creativity can be derived from its teachings. This work is a typographic interpretation of two poems quoted from the original Zen classic, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, that dates back almost 1500 years ago. The poems teach us not to believe all that which exists, not even the reflection of ourselves in a mirror. The caveat is for us to teach ourselves to overcome the rules and boundaries of our existence in order to reach a state of Zen, unfettered by the perceived limitations of life.

I found this absolutely fascinating. I think it's vital to look to different countries, cultures and religions, because all have so many different things to give and different interpretations of the world and life. This year, doing my Masters, I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing people from all over the world, and it's taught me so much. I have a lot of Taiwanese friends, and it is obvious that their culture and religion is very different to mine personally. They are more relaxed and at peace, by no means submissive - but certainly more placid and serene than the Indian, Greek, British, Russian etc students. I have to say they are some of the nicest, kindest people I've ever met.
It's interesting to translate this culture into design. Nod Young states that it is hard to have complete creative freedom, because we're too concerned with aesthetics and meaning. Which really got me, because, of course, that's totally right. But I'm sat here struggling, because when I look at a piece of work, they are the two things I think about. I think that's totally natural, but this has really made me think about creativity as a more fluid concept. Maybe if I created something without thinking at all about how it looked, or why I was doing it, it could actually end up having more meaning than something calculated. I think this way of thinking can help really push the boundaries of creativity.

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