This morning during an interview, I was asked, “Where do you find inspiration?” This is a common question, and I understand the curiosity, but it’s complicated. Like every other creative person, I’m inspired by a million tiny details every day. I know the correct answer is, “Well, I just can’t get enough of Alvin Lustig.” That doesn’t work for me. Not that I don’t love Lustig, but there are too many other influences daily.

My mind works much like the dog in Up. I’ll be choosing blue Pantone colors and then, “Squirrel,” I’m doing something else. Today while looking at blue PMS chips, I thought, “Blue Note,” and found myself reading the Blue Note Album Cover Art book. I’d forgotten how truly incredible every cover is. Reid Miles was the in-house designer at Blue Note and designed most of the covers. From 1955 to 1967, he combined minimal abstract forms with an intense color sensibility. While Miles is often associated with Bauhaus rigor, his covers are more closely related to Color Field and Minimalist artists such as Ellsworth Kelly. I often tell people that “cool” is a terrible trap leading to desperate work and endless suffering. I admit, however, that Miles’ covers are cool—the good kind of cool.

Tile Your Way to Happiness

Grand Canyon Concourse mural, Mary Blair designer, Walt Disney World®

In 1971, The Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World opened. Forgive me, but it’s not too purty of a building. It used state of the art building techniques,  but the design is a little clunky. The true genius of the building is inside, the Grand Canyon Concourse Mural designed by Mary Blair (yes, of It’s a Small World fame). The concept, now lost amidst fighting thematic elements was that the interior of the hotel would reference the space of the Grand Canyon. The 90 foot mural made up of ceramic tile is a recreation of the strata of the Grand Canyon. The subtlety of the color combinations is remarkable. And the attention to the smallest details including 3 dimensional texture is genius, or OCD. Here’s a tip: you need to take the elevator up to the upper levels to see the best views of the mural. Okay, that’s kind of OCD too. Which leads me to Obsessed on A&E, but that’s another post.

1971, note the acrylic trees