Jon Contino

Last week, Fisk, myself, and some friends went to the Jon Contino lecture at the Museum of Arts and Design. Contino's lecture "Escaping Hell" took us through 7 different stages of Design from, as Contino states, "kid artist to design slave to professional freedom".  I really enjoyed the lecture, and was mostly impressed that Contino was so down to earth and eager to explain his own mistakes for the benefit of helping others learn.  It could be argued that the lecture was for college level designers - but I didn't mind, Contino was very clear in the beginning that he felt this presentation would be most helpful.  It would have been nice to hear him talk about some parts of design history he really enjoyed.  I enjoy listening to artists talk about where things came from in their own minds, what connections they're making to what.  There was an opportunity for that during the Q & A, when a listener asked about his influences.  Contino was hesitant about admitting that he looked to other designers for inspiration, and explained he is more inspired by old signs, lettering, and things you'd find in a thrift shop.  I can understand not wanting to admit that you're inspired by other artists, as the word "inspire" can sometimes carry a sentimentality that doesn't necessarily benefit professionalism, but it would have been nice to know which designers or artists really helped him think about his own design in a new way.  It's obvious from his presentation that there was an incredible amount of growth between each level of hell, to know aesthetically how he made those choices would have also benefited the audience.  I'm not complaining though, there is never enough time in lectures for all the answers.  It was great to hear him speak, and he seems like a good guy.  You can check out his work here--> http://joncontino.com/

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