So, I arrive at the Buildex show downtown this afternoon early enough to grab a seat in the front row to hear Vicente Wolf speak. I’m happy because I’m sitting there feeling smug. My big plan is that instead of taking notes like everyone else, I’ll just tape the whole talk on my iphone. Anyone that missed it–lucky for you to be reading my blog–you’ll get the recap here because I’ll be able to re-create it so easily. . .
And just so you know, it was a great talk.
I loved it.
It was unscripted and real and I wish you were there.
Because, when I arrived home, I almost threw my x*#@% iphone across the room because all that I had of the recording was, 12:36 pm 0.00. Nothing, Nada, Zip. Except that I seriously need to upgrade from my 2G to a 4G. ASAP!
So all I have for you now is what I remember and some images of his stunning interiors:
Vicente started off his talk saying that he ended up in the interior design business because he got fired from every other job he did. I resonated with this because I could tell pretty much the same story about me and how I got here. Jonathan Adler says exactly the same thing in this interview I posted here.
So here’s the thing. Any one of you, in your corporate job right now, dreaming of doing something creative for a living, looking at someone like Vicente and thinking, “Wow what a great life he must have, I would love to be where he is, but he’s educated in design and has had all the lucky breaks, etc, etc, etc.” Not so, Vicente shared that he did not graduate from high school, or from design school. In his slide show presentation, when showing an illustration of a room, was asked if he drew it. His response was, ‘Heck no, I can’t draw, I hire someone to do that for me.’
So then you might be thinking, ‘He’s so brave to venture out and just do what he loves to do, I wish I could have the courage to do that’. But I have a news flash for you (and it applies to me as well). Vicente Wolf or I or Jonathan Adler (OMG can I even include myself in between these two) are not doing this right now because we are brave. We started doing it to SURVIVE. And the only difference between doing this and a job (which we can’t keep anyway) is being on the street (because I did not have (1) the trust fund, (2) rich spouse or (3) clients lined up, waiting to buy my work at the time—As Penelope Trunk says in her post, How to Build a Career as an Artist).
Bottom line is, I write this blog and I am where I am creatively because I am unemployable. Really. Not because I’m particularly courageous. Thankfully my clients expect the truth from me about what works or doesn’t work in their space. And when they hear it, they get it. They might not always be HAPPY in the moment, but at least they can now see the big picture because I have just explained it to them. My past employers however, were not as eager to hear the truth from me. . . anyway, moving on.
Vicente said that when he hires a new designer for his firm (he has a total of 12) and asks them what they are good at, the answer is usually something like “I love to design new spaces, I love selecting fabrics, shopping and sourcing furniture and accessories” and his answer is “Well what am I going to do?”. In other words, he does all the design, shopping and sourcing including all the presentations to his clients.
Clients don’t necessarily understand the creative process (after all that’s why they’ve hired a designer) but they understand the logic behind the choices he’s made because his presentation includes the ‘why’ and the ‘because’ of everything he has created. As Vicente presents his design plan, he walks through every single piece of furniture to explain why he chose this chair to sit beside this end table, and how it relates to the sofa and the artwork around it and so on.
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