Life Imitates Art

One of the programs I most enjoy watching on TV is Home Town. Erin Napier, who hosts the program with her husband, Ben — simple but talented and passionate young people from Laurel, Mississippi — always starts with painted renderings showing the after versions of the houses they’re going to renovate for their clients. So, imagine my surprise when I saw this headline: “From watercolors to virtual reality: How one of New York’s top architects presents to clients”. And I found myself when I read this:

The further you remove your brain from your hand, or your hand from your eyes, the less intuitive things become. After doing this for years, it’s amazing how your hand will sometimes do things before you’ve even thought them through—the neural pathways have been so developed that it’s very intuitive. You can’t do that when you’re creating on a computer.

I’m not sure I needed the reassurance. But I’ve always wondered at the fact that I’ll write things in longhand before I ever write them on a computer. In fact, I might never write them on a computer. Once I get on a computer, everything changes: It’s all about trying to manipulate a machine to manipulate a program to get both of them to do what your creativity wants done. The flashes of creativity go by so fast that the steps required of technical manipulation and intervention to get them on a computer can’t keep up with my brain. I lose the inspiration.

To Each, Her Own

My husband thinks I’m crazy because I work on a drafting table and because I have handwritten notes and hand-drawn sketches all over it. He’s a computer-everything, project-management-system, Google Calendar, GPS kind of guy. But he loses things and gets lost more than I do. (And he admits it, God bless him.) But I’m inclined to follow my brain long before I’ll engage technology. I don’t lack for much. I don’t lose much at all, especially ideas. And I don’t ever get lost. I guess opposites really do attract.

If it’s been a while since you trusted yourself with some paper and a pen or a pencil, give it a try. You’ll definitely be surprised. But you shouldn’t be surprised if all of your surprises are pleasant.

If it’s good enough for Erin Napier and Thomas Kligerman, it’s good enough for me.

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