Digging in, the brand archaeology of art, the person, the persona.
When you work on a brand, people are involved.
Sometimes, companies forget — they think: logistics, operations, planning, transportation, targets, quotients and quotas.
For us — and we’re sure — for many of you, people lie at the heart of the brand; it is they that make stories [and love them] and it is they, that activate the truth of the brand.
So if you’ve got something to say, a story to tell, it’s critical that the human face is actually activating that proposition. Nothing worse than a cool story for a brand, and a faceless front to the activation of that potential.
That’s what we call a true brand. A true brand could be a human brand as well. Human brands are people that live at the center of enterprise. In our experience, that would be Tom Ford, the Rodarte team — the Mulleavy sisters. Or someone like Steve Wynn – in each of these people, human brands, there is a vision and an actionable expression from that person [and their genetic makeup] that fulfills the chromosomal destiny of where that brand goes.
Working with Dale Chihuly and his team, we were asked to support the building of an identity around his new showcase of work — at the Seattle Center. That, for a man that is a legend in “design” — the signing of artfully conceived glass expressions — in all arrays of gigantic installations, sculptural glass-storms, interior treatments, as well as drawings and paintings — is a presumptive task. Let alone the added burden of their opening query and project positioning, “we were thinking you could do some kind of script.”
He already has a script.
More so, to illustrate his spirit and build an identity that drew from him, the work, the journey, the decades of exploration. Working in, we found there was.
We dug in.
And what we found was
a human patterning
in his journeys of discovery.
To each, their own, a patterning of gesture, notations, in the script of being — watching the writing,
much can be read.
Like drawing — which is, and of itself —
a literal “drawing.”
We built these as a series of books. And we called them — Chihuly + Girvin that alone, might be presumptuous, but we did it to identify the effort in the sheer number of people that we linked to, for Chihuly counsel — our Chihuly Council. And, over time, there were a string of books that we produced — from opening explorations, to discoveries, to outcomes and reviews, to solution sets.
And, too, there were teams involved.
Because there were three of us working on it, along with a string of people on Chihuly’s side that we connected to, interviewed and guides that allowed us to dig into the archaeology of the man and his works.
We toured the workshops, the collections of inspirational materials [most artists that we’ve worked with, especially those that have a complex visual vocabulary and “design” lexicon tend to be avid collectors.] Chihuly, like our works around Harold Balasz or Jack Lenor Larsen, have an abiding love of learning, fired by a persistent curiosity.
It all began with a learning book — from our journeys, into the heart of the man and his worlds.
We went everywhere, talking to people, learning more, listening, watching and shooting.
We looked for patterning.
Light and shadow:
Light, context, environments for presentation:
Energy and commitment:
We talked to people that were working on Chihuly projects and installations.
We looked at whimsy and experiment:
Layering and pigment:
Sketches, expansions, objects:
What comes of that?
photographic assemblies and spreads.
In our books, we wrote on story, positioning and strategy — including creative nomenclature on the name for the “Garden” — following the leads from Leslie C., her insights and directional thinking.
Patterning and Chihuly archetypes — drawings and forms that evidenced journey and layering of expertise, exploration and personal journey, time and place. As Leslie Chihuly had intoned in our meetings, the idea — in paraphrase — is that “journey is fundamental to the effort —
the goal is to draw guests into
the world of Chihuly,
to get a view into Dale’s mind.
It’s surely about his work in glass,
but how he got there is
just as compelling.”
The whorl, the well-inked whirl, the tornado, the box, the weaving, the sphere, the spattered rippling of energy, the chalked and dusted rip-line – these collect into a series of ever-expanding forms. And, looking into the calligraphic signature of Dale Chihuly, it’s all there, the signing, the signature, the signal, the sigil for
the magic that lies within,
We thought, what if the idea — which should be wholly about Dale and the intellectual and spiritual signature of his life — was a multiplicity of identities?
And the evolutions, to study modeling.
The sheer drama is spectacular — luminous, brilliant, saturated and explosively energetic.
The authenticity, the yearning of the man in making art is right up there with the most luminary of the modern art scene. While his success might be decried by some, I’d offer that getting out there as an artist, is an accomplishment — hard work, commitment, passion.
Dream and push to activate.
[christina sakura and tim girvin]
While our treatments have found expression in merchandising and retail, as well as signing, the online presence has evolved to a more quieted approach.
Not our effort.
In working with dozens of artists, over time — from Northwest luminaries like Jacob Lawrence, Kenneth Callahan and William Cummings to the work of Zen Masters from hundreds of years back, the truth is that passion electrifiers persistence — the work is rarely one of a moment’s discovering, but years of refinement, engagement, pain and struggle to find the recognized and recalled idea[l].
See that evolution, gathered here:
COO Billy O’Neill with
Leslie Chihuly and Dale Chihuly
The Collections Café,
with Chihuly’s accordions
A glimpse of the galleries:
The Pendleton Wall and Dawn Clark
The final retail design treatment
See what you will,
dream what you may.
Tim | San Francisco | Union Square
THE PURSUIT OF BEAUTY:
BRAND | STORY | DESIGN | PACKAGE
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