Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Alon Meron (www.alonmeron.com) was our guest speaker at tonight’s class. He gave a wonderfully insightful and generous presentation describing his design process and career path.
Alon’s advice is to start with what you’ve got and work from that because therein lies the answer! Clues from one project lead on to the next one and so on. I was fascinated to see how Alon’s work has evolved over the years, becoming more refined and sophisticated whilst still retaining his orignal concept (thread) and thought process.
As a University lecturer Alon creates interesting challenges for his students. For example, over a six week module he briefed his students to choose an artist they admire and advised them to copy their chosen artist’s style and technique for four weeks.
The idea behind this is that in physically doing what the chosen artist has done the students learn and perfect their technique... they must get closer to the work in order to progress, evolve and innovate. Copying another artist’s work causes the student to analyse and understand the process leading the student to think about how he/she can develop his/her own work and move it forward. Throughout this process the student is asking him/herself questions and through self reflection realises the answers thus one thing leads to another... one can’t copy another artist’s work without having ideas of your own therefore there is a connection with with your own response.
During the final two weeks of the module the students progressed by developing their own ideas. Alon was fascinated to learn that at the end of the module not one student’s work resembled their chosen artist’s work and that all of the end products were original and innovative!
This process of copying harks back to the classic apprenticeship when students learnt everything from the master, adopting his skills, ethics and aesthetic values. There is no teaching if there is no copying and therefore nothing progresses. One must copy in order to discover freedom otherwise you’ll always be faced with a blank piece of paper! So, in other words, stand on the shoulders of giants!