SEEKING INSPIRATIONS | CREATIVE MENTORS: HAROLD BALAZS:
THE DEFINITIONS OF DESIGN SPIRIT: A CHILDHOOD, RECALLED
GROWING UP CREATIVE | WHO’S THE TEACHER THAT PLANTS THE SEED?
Creative [V I B E] is juice, it’s jazz, it’s fire; unquenchable — it’s not dying, it’s not going out.
Harold Balazs | Porcelain enamel
Creative comes from family — and what they teach you, what comes of exploration, what comes of gifts, what comes of being in the school of being open, learning more, risking, failing, loving and learning more. Once it starts, like any solid addiction, it doesn’t let you go.
Exhibition book jacket
My exposure to the creative place of imagining began at birth — from both my Mother and Father, Lila and George Girvin. While I might’ve been a handful, as the first born, they let me head out to do what I wanted to do. My Mother is a painter, pianist, champion. My Father is a Surgeon, Lover of trees, gardener, activist.
My early years were fraught with uncertainty — but still imbued with fantastic curiosity and passion about exploration. That might’ve been science in the beginnings — a love of natural things, the examination of the biological realm — marine biology, comparative physiology, entomology, botany – but I went on from there: journals, drawing, type design, calligraphy, art and architectural history. And how, in all this, does the story unfold — what is the connection of these arts to their respective civilizations — I went there, I wandered, I wondered, and I built the premise of “my design” based on nearly no training as a designer. But thinker, idealist, ideator,, draughtsman, illustrator. Just dreams.
Harold Balazs: patience, passion, persistence
And from there — the Girvin story unfolds; that’s been told. I worked early on in the world of the scholarly, the rare and referenced hand-drawn type design, the hand-made paper, the hand-bound book, gilding and glass, carved and blasted stone, the powdered porcelain, the hand cut stencil, the silkwoven serigraph, the etched plate. All special, all artful, and mostly all luxury — made from one — for one. Girvin grew and things changed — more people, more projects, but still — the idea of doing things by hand, beautiful wrought — and a vision of extending, in the european legacy, the realm of design horizontally, unbridled, and enthusiastically explored and experimented. This idea of doing things came in my early connection with an artist from Mead, Washington — just outside of Spokane where I spent part of my childhood.
Gallery space, Spokane’s Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
Harold Balazs is having a show in Spokane at the Museum there. Seeing it reminded me of my times there, out at the studio, exploring, experimenting, talking to Harold, learning, opening up and learning to consider the idea that doing something with art is something that can be built upon, extended horizontally. For me, the inspiration was about opening all channels of creativity — not being bound, alone, to one crafted way of expression, but aligning more holistically. If there’s an idea to examined, then doing more — spreading out — expanding that creative legacy is another.
Baked porcelain enamel wall treatments: extending the visualization
To offer something of that connection, there’s a sequence of inspirational gestures to the work of Mr. Balazs — a inspiration for many, in the collections of hundreds, and more importantly — a man that has continued the work, creatively expanding his efforts with a passionate persistence. The creative essence flows.
Notes on cabbages: drawings, cutting stencils, dusted porcelain applications baked on metal — the sequences of an idea:
Watercolor explorations: a design brand patterning
Harold Balazs steel sculpture: a graphic language, dimensioned
The classic phrasing: freely interweaving graphic expressions
A note: sketches on the symbology of Rudolf Koch
Copper and porcelain badgework: graphics, intertwining ideals
Large drawings: the energy flows
Calligraphic treatments: text, message and meaning
The workshop, an amalgam of many explorations: along with a congratulatory calligraphic note from me
Where does one seek that inspiration — the list goes and goes for me — people that I’ve connected with, known, been touched by, that breathing in, that beauty is something marvelous to feel, surging through the electricity of memory and the results that find themselves shown in the vocabulary of expression — how lightning fast, that realization, the activation — the flow, renews.
L E S S O N S L E A R N E D
â€¢ START WITH THE IMAGINATION, END WITH THE HANDS
â€¢ PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE
â€¢ BEGIN WITH ONE INTERPRETATION, DIMENSIONS ADVANCED IN ANOTHER
â€¢ THINK FIRST, BUILD ON A SEQUENCE OF IDEA(L)S
â€¢ THE FIRST GESTURE CAN BE BUILT
â€¢ THE IMAGINARY CAN HAVE A DESIGN LANGUAGE, BUILT IN THE HUMAN BRAND, EXTENDED
â€¢ A GRAPHICAL VOCABULARY CAN BE THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE MIND, TO HAND
â€¢ THE ALPHABET IS A WEAVING, LAYERED IN STORY SINCE THE DAWN OF WRITTEN TIME
â€¢ THE LANGUAGE OF SYMBOLS, PSYCHIC ARCHETYPES AND OTHERWISE, FORM AN UNDERLAY: KNOW THEM FLUENTLY
â€¢ THE LINE CREATES FORM, YOU DIVINE THE LANGUAGE
â€¢ ENERGY IS ETERNAL DELIGHT: GO WITH THE FLOW
â€¢ TEXT, ILLUSTRATION, THE TAPESTRY OF IMAGINATION
â€¢ DESIGN = AMALGAM
Flow, goes — to the heart of it. Another friend, also from early Spokane years –Tom Kundig, too — influenced by Harold’s wizardry, as an apprentice.
Story, to influence, learnings to imagination:
t i m
B U I L D I N G L O V E: H U M A N B R A N D S
the reels: http://www.youtube.com/user/GIRVIN888
I am in an artclass in Asheville NC where I moved to from Seattle The class has been painful, a very traditional calligraphy class billed as something else and just as I decide to call it quits a friend shows me a picture of your work fron “typography reinvented”(?)- anyway I go to google images and am happy to see your work . But I spy TRANSCEND the BULLSHIT””!!! And found your blog about Harry, whom I wish I had known… I saw this show in LaConner Wa at the Museum there…. I fell in love. When I firstmoved to the Northwest in The lateb70’s you could still feel the vibe of the wonderful collection of Northwest artists… I did not discover HB until the show in La Conner which had his wonderful workshop….
Thank you for what you do and thank you for remembering Harry.
I saw a cool notebook at the balasz exhibit in spokane. It was written entirely in balasz letters. The unknown symbols probably weren’t code,just explorations in what he liked about letter forms. It was writing,with the language and phonetic symbology ommitted, just pretty shapes. It reminds me to look at things differently.❤