"What Would You Do?" Week (psst, there's a contest in this post)

I spent the afternoon with my friends, Patrik and Steven, at one of my favorite spots, the DeYoung Museum, in Golden Gate Park.

[caption id="attachment_2132" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The De Young has been here since 1895, but this is a new building for the museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and opened in 2005."][/caption]

We wandered into this room and something funny happened...

We spontaneously started talking about this crystal and light installation and what we'd do with this idea in a dining room. We talked about recreating the installation then painting the walls to match the shadows and removing the crystals. Would the magic still be there? Would people look up to find the light resource? Could some of the shadows be painted in color? What other shapes could we create with shadow?

As we wandered further through the museum we continued asking "what would you do?"...

Would you put this painting in your house?

If you painted this piece would you change anything? (not me, this is one of my favorite paintings in the museum)

If this painting was your idea and you painted it exactly like this, would yours make it to a museum?

Then we came into the Line of Sight exhibit created by Marco Breuer. He seemed to be laughing- even poking fun at museums themselves. He combined his original works (photographs created without a camera) with pieces from DeYoung's permanent collection, pencil sketches on the walls and tracing paper decorations. It was playful and funny for such a serious place.

Steven speculated about a rhetorical accusation between Artist and Curator- he charged, "Okay, Artboy! You're not actually going to damage anything here, are you?!" It got us laughing (too loud, actually, but we couldn't help it!) and then we asked ourselves,

"If you were given a whole room in the museum to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?"

Scribble columns with a pencil around the entry to your exhibit?

Sketch a display of rectangles on the wall then arrange your photographs on the drawing?

Decorate Girandole mirrors with tissue paper then tempt your friends to have a little fun with a single dress standing in the middle of the room? (Do it, Patrik, I dare you!)

It got me thinking, sometimes we (should I say, I?) think of an idea- a creative idea, an idea about our lives, perhaps- then think about all of the reasons the idea is impossible to execute. I thought for years about design ideas for my house, but immediately focused on the obstacles- it's a rental, I don't have the money for it, I could never find it...

Constructive criticism lies at the corner of most achievements. You have to be able to step back from your work, maybe gather input from others, to evaluate things before you continue. But it's easy to get hung up on the negative- on what's not working, or what isn't possible. We get discouraged or feel paralyzed- sometimes before we've even started- and feel defeated, or give up before we've even started.

I stopped working on this painting over a year ago. I approached the piece as a playful experiment in pattern and color-that is- until I got to the flowers. I became so critical about the colors and shapes/scale of the blossoms that I stopped and put the painting down indefinitely. Why did I stop playing? Why did I get so critical that I couldn't continue?...

This week, to get us all imagining cool things again without ANY criticism, I'm asking the question,

What Would You Do?

I'll present a series of images, projects, scenarios and simply ask, What Would You Do? Because sometimes we just need to wonder about things, even things unrelated to our own work, to Make Room for fresh ideas and new enthusiasm. No answer will be right or wrong- but if you smell a contest coming, keep reading...

Let's start with this. What would you do?

[caption id="attachment_2169" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="These raw silk curtains are from a showroom in the San Francisco Design Center"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2171" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="They are lined with sateen, have pinch pleats at the top and quilting on the lead edge (the edge that closes to the center of the window)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2170" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="There are four panels each measuring 11 ft long by 7ft across the pleated top"][/caption]

Would you hang them in your house? Give them to a friend who's favorite color is poppy red? Cut them and make something else with the fabric? Stretch the fabric on a canvas and paint?...

No answer is wrong, just tell me, What Would You Do?

The first person to answer wins a print of this painting. Good luck!

Back to blog


Also, there is a grungy little diner here in Portland that has screwed dozens of Eye-screws to the ceiling, then strung fishing line from the front door through the eyes and then hung kitchy objects from the lines. Every time someone enters the diner, all of these objects raise up a few inches and then lower again. Glamming this idea up by using the crystals from the museum would be a great way to make every guests entrance a grand one.


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