Academy Award-winning director, Kathryn Bigelow, learned how to be an artist in the world from a strong mentor. Now, Rolex is doing us the favor of capturing her thoughts about her mentor (Lawrence Weiner) and mentoring’s role in the development of an artist.
Rolex features a print interview with Bigelow too. She offers this gem, among other insights:
A great work of art surprises you, you didn’t anticipate it, and when a film surprises me, that’s when I’m excited. I don’t want to anticipate something, a narrative construct. I want to be surprised by it. Lawrence Weiner opened my eyes to the process of both examination and surprise, and how art can enhance, inform. Our minds are very elastic.
You can never unlearn what you learn, you can never unknow what you know. We’re not like computers, we can’t hit delete. You have all of that information, all of those explorations, those discoveries, those influences, those inspirations. They live on with you.
“I don’t want to anticipate something, a narrative construct. I want to be surprised by it.”
That’s wisdom. Let’s all (of us who tell stories professionally) do with it what we can.
Art That Disrupts Is Art You Remember
Lawrence Weiner is a character among men. Wikipedia says he is regarded as a founding figure of Postminimalism’s Conceptual art.
He’s a disruptor and disruptors get your attention. He’s also an artist who puts words on walls. It’s hard to miss the connection to advertising and pop culture in his work.
According to ArtNews:
By removing words from any narrative context, by denuding them of contingency, Weiner transforms them into things, raw material he may deploy any which way.
Weiner’s words float in space where observers can consider them slowly. Advertising, especially out-of-home advertising, does not work that way. Our job as conveyors of brand value is to connect the ideas in the words to a product or service that’s being offered. When we do so artfully, people are more inclined to observe and be moved by what they observe.
The State of Adver-Mentoring Today
Adweek started a mentoring program in 2019.
“It is an unwritten commandment in the preservation and advancement of any craft or culture: knowledge has to be shared. Mentoring, therefore, is an obligation for those who love their craft,” said Antonio Lucio, Global CMO of Facebook and Adweek mentor. “To know is to love. To love is to share. To share is to transcend.”
For designers, AIGA offers mentoring programs in several cities.
Many alumni associations also help to foster mentoring between graduates. This week, I was contacted by a designer who graduated in May from my alma mater. She recently moved to Austin and is looking for an opportunity to show what she can do. I am impressed by her work and her positive attitude.
When a talented person has much to give the world, others want to do all they can to help. Many of us who have made bold career moves have asked for and received help along the way, and the truth is we are all interdependent—we depend on one another. No matter how successful you are now, there is no future where you don’t need the help or advice of people who are invested in your success.