I’ve started reading The Laws of Simplicityby John Maeda. John is currently the President of RISD. As an artist and author John is very well established. Just google him - you’ll see. As an administrator, the jury is till out…but I digress. As I make my way through the book I think I will find that simplicity is not simple to achieve. It makes me realize that just about this time every year I say to myself, “Wow! I really need to simplify things. Next year will be much less crazy if I just simplify!” But it never really happens. Life gets in the way. The economy goes down. The economy goes up. I’m more busy. I’m less busy and bothered by being less busy and therefore less able to concentrate on simplifying.
But…as I continue to paint, draw, design buildings, create master plans I think there is something in the simplification creed that I can use. I came across a Frank Lloyd Wright quote on simplicity recently - "Simplicity is a clean, direct expression of the thing which is in the nature of the thing itself. The innate or organic pattern of the form of anything is that form which is thus truly simple"
Now I’ve never been a huge fan of Wright - the man. I admire his genius, his work and his longevity but as one of my mentors once said - ”The whole cult of personality thing is kind of a turn off.” That said, I do believe that there was a set of simple core beliefs at work that allowed him to be able to create things that were both complex in their construction and detail as well as simple and immediately apparent in their perception, grace and poise.
And that is what I hope to take forward into 2010. The compositions of the built environment or the two dimensional canvas are most appealing to me when they are immediately perceivable for the underlying simplicity that guides their creation. Working out the details is a complex issue. Holding the many facets of life together is a complex undertaking. “The nature of the thing itself” however can be understood as simple and used as a sounding board. A guide post.