Everything is Temporary

Yesterday, I did it. I worked up all my courage and did it. I woke up at 8am. Showered. Took the tube and repeatedly told myself, “Do the things you’re afraid of, that’s how you grow.” 3 hours into the project, I felt right at home and no longer scared of judgement or failure…

For my second creative brief, we had to design an object, a sentence, a poster, or basically anything that is what our statement is as a graphic designer. Daunting isn’t it? Also extremely, incredibly, broad and open and abstract. Everything I dislike about a brief, BUT the exercise was cool. I wrote about it in another previous blog about my 3 words: Obsessions, Bending the rules inside the lines, and Technology.

My brainstorming after the initial brainstorming activity during class.
More brainstorming of the brainstorms…

I did a lot more brainstorming and brainstormed my brainstorms. I finally came to the conclusion on my obsession with “impermanence.” I have been fascinated with this topic in previous years because for a short period I studied Buddhism and was genuinely interested in Buddhism. I think I still am and I still believe in a lot of the ideologies. Impermanence is a big part of general Buddhism. “Everything is temporary.” is something I say to myself. I don’t think it’s quotable or needs to be copyrighted, but it is something I made up and is pretty much the theme of my life. It’s simple and to the point.

This took an embarrassingly long time to figure out the logistics of. Like an entire day.

The quote is significant to my personal life and my professional life. As a designer, I was interested in the idea of temporary marks of design such as flyers, posters, tickets, and calendars. These designs are extremely temporary so do they even matter? Some last one day, a week, a month, a year. What about the history of designers who have created works and were not marked in the history of design? Do they have significance?

I used post-its as the material for the project because it relates with my inspiration for temporary material. Post-its are usually only used once and easily thrown away.

In my personal life, I find this quote helps me find my center. When I am angry, upset, anxious, I remember, everything is temporary. My fears are temporary. I then also remember that my happiness, excitement, and experiences such as studying abroad are also temporary. It reminds me that the good feelings and the bad feelings are all temporary.

Everything is temporary so does any of it actually matter? This question throws me off my tracks because a lot of who I am is defined by how passionate I am and how I genuinely care for everything. I care so much that in part of caring so much, I am stressed most of the time because everything is important to me. Everything matters. Everything is important. But is it? Is everything such a big deal? Maybe not. Maybe everything that happens isn’t the end of the world.

The things that matter only matter because we as humans put significance to it. We make the connections and we make it matter. It’s all about perspective. I think the reason I love this quote so much is because it can be read positively or negatively, depending on your perspective. In general it is a positive statement. I think it also signifies keeping a balance in your life. Everything matters, but also don’t stress out so much about everything because to some degree it doesn’t matter.

1 person with 1 fine tip sharpie, 2 rolls of double sided tape, 8 packets of post-it’s, 500 yellow post-its, 10 hours.

I can’t believe I actually went through with the project and did it. I am proud of myself because to be perfectly honest I was terrified of doing it. Ask my friends, who had the great pleasure of hearing me tell them how I was scared every day until I finally just did it haha. I am always scared when I do these big projects that involves human interactions and public displays. In this case, I was even more terrified because I still feel like an outsider at CSM. CSM is filled with really talented and creative individuals so I felt even more pressured. As I have said before, I think anyone doing anything creative is always vulnerable to some degree. Whenever I create designs, I feel like I am putting my heart and soul on a silver platter ready to be judged by every single person who sees it. I guess that’s how superstars feel or people in the public eye. That was really cheesy, I apologize, but it is nevertheless true. When creating public works, I feel even more vulnerable because there’s always the risk of failure. In this case, it would be a public failure. I meticulously plan for everything I design, but I never actually know what’s going to happen once I start doing it. It could very well fail.

The empty halls of CSM at closing time.

For instance, some problems I ran into the day of:

1. Could not get the printer to work and had to use my laptop and phone for reference.
2. Forgot my laptop charger.
3. The cheap post-its I got did not even stick to the wall. I had to purchase double sided tape and individually tape each of the 500 post-it notes.
4. When I rented the camera to record the entire thing, it died in 2 hours so it was basically pointless.
5. Someone else had a project going on during it.
6. There was a random fire drill.

There are always complications, but somehow, I made it worked. After doing it for two hours, I longer felt any fear of being judged. I felt alive and motivated and the only fear remained in my body was the fear of not being able to finish before the building closed. The building closes at 10. HOW CRAZY IS THAT? Americans are too use to 24/7. I had to finish by 10pm. I was there for 11 hours and it took about 10 hours. I took half an hour to eat one meal and another half an hour to get something printed for another project. Other than that, there were no breaks.

A random stranger who wanted to be in the photo for my process shots. “Can I be in the photo? This is beautiful by the way!”

Human Interactions:

- 1 stranger who actually wanted to be in the photo instead of scurrying away because they thought they were getting in the way of it.
- 10 people that I saw take photos during process or the final or the aftermath.
- 2 strangers instagramed it.

Direct Quotes from Strangers:

“That’s a really great message!”

“I saw it from the second floor and I thought it was really awesome. Keep it up.”

“That’s so cool. What course are you in? Do you study here?”

“When I first walked by I thought it said ‘Everything is Tempo’ and I thought it was some weird musical thing. But now I see it’s temporary and I like it a lot. Really cool job.”

“Where were you during the fire drill? Did it disrupt your work? Can you tell me what happened during the fire drill I want to post it in my blog.”

“Awesome? Is it everything is…awesome?? (in the tone of the song from the one and only Lego Movie)”

“Can I be in the photo? This is beautiful by the way!”

Things I Overheard:

“That’s kinda cool.”

“What is it?”

“What the fuck?”

“What is everything?”

“Oh my god, that is totally me. This one too. And this one. (referring to post it notes)”

“Everything is…”

Strangers who posted about it on their Instagram:

I loved seeing people’s take on my project through their instagram and I absolutely loved how everyone had a different perspective. That was unexpected and awesome.

Many people turned their head. Few people stopped and came up close to read the post-its. Few people came to actually talked to me. A lot of people awkwardly stared at me (and thought I didn’t notice). My friends came to visit and took photos of me and sent them to me, haha. My favorite part is when I look up sometimes at the staircase from far away and I saw people stop and take a double look. It was also funny to actually see people take photos of the project when it wasn’t even done yet or when I was there, but they didn’t say anything. I think people were more inclined to talk to me later into the evening when not so many people were around. Some people just completely ignored me. A few students ate lunch right up against the wall while I was working.

The next morning….everything is temporary.

It was truly a unique experience. One that has left me physically exhausted. I couldn’t really feel my body when I got home, but it was worth it. Even while creating it I had doubts and my self-consciousness definitely amplified. I loved hearing comments from people though. I think at the end of the day I accomplished my goal of the project and created something I am proud of. This is actually basically my statement as a graphic designer.

As a designer I am interested in honesty, narrative, interactions, unusual beauty, typography, and pushing the boundaries of design through analog process.

I didn’t think I would actually accomplish the task. Towards the end I was tempted to ask my friends for help because I thought I wasn’t going to finish, but I did it by myself and finished on time. It was a stressful, but somewhat meditative process. I think this project has inspired me to think more about the idea of impermanence for future projects. I’m excited to hear some feedback from my peers tomorrow during my final critique! Despite the fact that I was physically exhausted, I felt that it was worth it.

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