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The Design Associates

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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

The Design Associates | Tokyo

The Labyrinth of Being
Design explorations, teaching and creativity

We know what we know
by virtue of where we have been,
and what we recall of that pathway.
As designers and creatives,
everything comes
from journey.

It’s where we’ve been
and where we’re going.

There are symbols that are laid before us,
and either we know how to read them,
or we pass them by, unseeing.

A symbol is founded on the premise of something that is thrown or cast together. Symbolum, in one of the later, Medieval implications of the word, is a statement of “creed, token, a mark — and backwards to the more ancient Greek interpretations,
symbolon — a watchword, a sign of inference —
“a ticket, a permit, a license.”

In studying that marking — the sym-bol; it combines syn or sum — “together” and bole“bolt” as in ballistics, from the Greek verb, ballein, “to throw.”

I think about that as lightning.
As in struck by lightning.
A sudden illumination.
In a manner, speaking of symbols, the notion of lightning is also an ancient rendering of a higher spiritual awakening.

The Lightning hammer
of Thor, the mölnir,
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Marvel’s rendering
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Zeus and Thunderbolt
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Indra and Vajra

and the Vajra — diamond cutter Dorje of Tibetan Buddhism, the thunder trident of Zeus are all symbols of vaporizing illumination — a striking, shatterer of a current perception for a new visioning.
Another reality.

Symbols reveal themselves as transformative statements — marks, notches in a journey.

Turns of the labyrinth of living.

As a teacher of drawing and calligraphy,
the idea of the mark — as in a mark-making — designing — is something more profound, it’s a magical and transformative event.

Draw a mark on a paper
and that plane changes,
draw a word and the meaning
of that plane changes.

It’s defined in a new way.

I mix the two, marks and words, they intertwine — symbolic mark, word and image — this is, unto itself, labyrinthine in intention, they are markers in a journey.

I was with my 3-year-old grandson,
we were drawing with chalk.
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We talked about drawing circles.
And then about drawing snails and their shells.

I drew a spiral — which he called a shell.
In the ancient context, in a multiplicity of cultures, the spiral is that: path maker.

The Labyrinth of Being

Words and spirals.
An Isaiah sigil:
The Labyrinth of Being

The Labyrinth of Being

The Labyrinth of Being

One drawing becomes another,
and another: spiraling in, spiraling out.
And that marking, like a simplified message, sees all the more in path-finding.
Like the meditation on the blade, the Labrys, the ancient double-headed ax — it’s a maker, legend builder, journey marker.

One mark
says it all;
it’s up to you to make it.

The Labyrinth of Being

Marks, meaning-making.
A drawing, words,
One mark says it all.

The Labyrinth of Being

Tim | On the Waterfront