Perhaps it was raining very hard

Richard Brautigan and Michaela le Grand, 1967

People are contradictory. They are liberal and conservative, optimistic and cynical, and angry and happy. It would be so much easier to be one thing, like a character on a TV show. But we are trapped in this conflict. I like to think of myself as a good American: patriotic, love of country, remembering the good times when you spent a day fishing and eating apple pie from the window ledge. But, I also have that other side, the counter-culture anti-establishment thing. Maybe it’s from being a child in the Haight in the 1960s, or maybe I’m just weird. But it works for me.

Richard Brautigan is one of my favorite authors. Granted the work is haaaaard to get through. In Watermelon Sugar is not an easy idea to understand, but oh so beautiful. There is that revolutionary approach that says, “I am not interested in the right way. This is my experience.” I love that. So if you have some extra several weeks on hand and plenty of mind-altering substances, I suggest a walk on the wrong side of the street and Richard Brautigan. How can you not love someone who said, ““I have always wanted to write a book that ended with the word ‘mayonnaise.”

I will be very careful the next time I fall in love, she told herself. Also, she had made a promise to herself that she intended on keeping. She was never going to go out with another writer: no matter how charming, sensitive, inventive or fun they could be. They weren’t worth it in the long run. They were emotionally too expensive and the upkeep was complicated. They were like having a vacuum cleaner around the house that broke all the time and only Einstein could fix it. She wanted her next lover to be a broom.” ― Richard Brautigan, Sombrero Fallout

“I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.”

“He created his own Kool Aid reality and was able to illuminate himself by it.”

“Excuse me, I said. I thought you were a trout stream.

I’m not, she said.”

Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.

Gentle people with flowers in their hair

This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek

For some reason, people tend to assume I’m from Boston and was raised in a strictly Calvinist New England setting. If you’ve seen a recent speaking engagement by me you know that’s not true, and you probably left with bad dreams for weeks. When I was four, my parents moved to San Francisco to live in the Haight (Haight-Ashbury). This was 1968 and the Summer of Love was still in full bloom. Our upstairs neighbors were members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin’s band. My mother bought a grand Victorian bed from one of the Grateful Dead guys and gave it to my grandmother as a Christmas gift. My parents were free spirits, which is the opposite of me. I have several items from that time: my Dad’s Hendrix records, some Richard Brautigan books, a collection of Fillmore posters, and the book, This is San Francisco.

The book shows some of San Francisco’s famous spots: Fisherman’s Warf, Coit Tower, and the cable cars. But, I love the less famous but specifically local images: the maze of streetcar and bus wires, the flower stand shaped like a cable car, and the Chinese styled street lamps of Chinatown. There is a Jesuit saying, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” This certainly must be true visually. Even with years at art school, and over two decades working in the design industry, I look at these images and say, “Yes, this is right.”

This is San Francisco, Miroslav Sasek

This is San Francisco, Miroslav Sasek

This is San Francisco, Miroslav Sasek

This is San Francisco, Miroslav Sasek

Sean, Panhandle Park, 1968