What do you get when you pair an egotistical, genius architect from the early 20th Century with a young Canadian-born illustrator producing incredibly creative work?
Oh, and throw in 100 years difference between the two.
What do they have in common? Extraordinary talent. Extraordinary images.
One was a visionary; the other expresses her visions colorfully. He showed bold and dramatic executions; so does she. He was extremely creative and imaginative. Her: Ditto. That’s what this blog is all about: Various and different perspectives on creativity.
In reading articles recently on re-imaging, I was reunited with the subject of a paper I’d written years ago. This article took a different perspective. About the same time, I was introduced to a new subject of creativity in an article on illustration.
The subjects: Very different and very dynamic.
The subject I wrote about years ago was the infamous and egotistical architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. I was intrigued by his designs and his persona. His works were that of genius. My aunt, being an interior designer, was quite familiar with Mr. Wright, especially after seeing him in Chicago during the fifties. This heightened my interest and pushed me to write the paper.
Courtesy PPG Paint Color Collection: Frank Lloyd Wright™
Since this blog centers around creativity and innovation, let alone imagination, I thought it appropriate to publish some of Wrights work with an intriguing take on some of his designs that were never built. They’ve been reimagined here in the 21st Century. Keep in mind, dear audience, that Wright flourished during the early 20th Century. He died in 1959. His last project, in Phoenix, was recently put on the market for $2.7M.
Spanish architect, David Romero, has created photorealistic computer renderings of unbuilt or demolished Wright buildings. Admittedly, as I was first reading about his process and looking at the photos, the settings seemed surreal.
Wright’s Roy Wetmore Car Repair and Showroom was to have been built in Detroit, Michigan. Credit: David Romero
Romero also painstakingly researched the context and location of the building, including adding era-appropriate cars, traces of rain and dirt on the building, and other details in order to bring the project to life. As a result, at times it can be hard to tell these are illustrations rather than stylized photographs.
Intended to stand atop Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the plan for the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective commissioned in 1924 called for a planetarium and restaurant to accompany a scenic overlook. Its developer, wealthy Chicago businessman Gordon Strong, envisioned it as a destination where families would drive for the day from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Credit: David Romero
Take a trip back to yesteryear and see for yourself various Wright projects either demolished or even never built.
The Larkin Administration Building (left) and inside the building (right) made design statements all throughout. However, the building does not exist any longer. Wright’s Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York—his first office building—was built in 1903 and demolished in 1950.
According to Romero, after gobs of research and learning, they had to be works that did not exist, either because they disappeared or because they never came to be built. The reason is simple: 3D rendering tools serve precisely for this, to show what does not exist.
Describing his process of recreation, Romero explains: “I start the model in Autocad, then I export it to 3ds Max + Vray where I add textures, lights and cameras, as well as vegetation and the environment. Finally there is some retouching in Adobe Photoshop, although very light.”
Creativity of today depicting creativity of a bygone era. Fascinating!
From the early 20th Century to present day we go. I find that creativity is not age based. What’s creative and imaginative is creative and imaginative, regardless of when created.
Take the young Canadian illustrator, Lynn Scurfield. She has positioned her career path thusly: “I wanted to be an animator until I saw artist Alphonse Mucha’s work in high school. I knew that I had to do what he did! Drawing insanely beautiful images and then having them used in different commercial ways was mind blowing.”
I was taken with this illustration of a smoke monster-type creature (any Lost fans out there?) apparently poised to eat a woman who is just leaving this house, oblivious to her impending danger.
“Hello! I’m an illustrator living in a sleepy town just outside of Toronto, Ontario. My work is defined by crazy colours and textures with strong emotional qualities.” For Marzena Czarnecka’s article ‘Unsafe at Home, Lost in the System,’ for city lifestyle magazine Avenue Calgary.
She describes her approach as . . . “My art style, which utilizes a mix of media, really confuses people because they never know how much of my work is done traditionally versus digitally. People are also intrigued by how emotional my work can feel. I’m usually hired to create images about emotionally difficult topics, like death, mental health and separation. The fact that I’m being hired to make illustrations that emotionally connect with a general audience is special and amazing.”
. . . and her philosophy as . . . “Don’t overthink your work. When I was in school, I was always worried if my work was good enough, if it was cool enough, if I was a two-bit artist. Since I’ve started working in the industry, I’ve realized that thoughts like these aren’t healthy, and they don’t make you a better artist. I like my work more now that I care less about what people think. As long as my clients are happy with the final results, I’m happy!”
“For Erin MacNair’s short story ‘Thin Crust,’ for general interest magazine The Walrus.”
Interestingly, both Wright and Scurfield, though a century apart, expressed their work in striking and dramatic ways while emitting strong, emotional qualities. Imagination is at the heart of creativity and the images exhibited by these two talents stirs that imagination.
Born of different generations, one has left his indelible mark in the world of architecture while the other continues to illustrate hers. Take heed; the rest of us can learn something. Creativity and imagination are not constrained by time and space, and to a lesser degree, neither are we. Think about it!