Some parting thoughts on #DesignFromMemory
 
In the fall of 2016 I decided I wanted to try to do my first live episode of the show. It was an opportunity to try something new with the show and see if I could push myself to do something outside of my comfort zone. As planning commenced I thought it would be cool to have something for the people coming out to the show. Frankly, anything that would ensure it wasn't just me and the guests sitting in front of a room full of empty chairs was a good idea.

So I invited four previous guests of the show to create posters reflecting the theme of the show, “Giving,” as we were talking to designers who did work for charity and non-profits and all the proceeds of the door were going to Philabundance. 

What I couldn’t have anticipated was that working with the artists and seeing their interpretations of the theme come together would be the part that I enjoyed the most out of the whole experience. 

Based on that experience and caught up in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, I wanted to put together an art show that would do some good. Other than having the desire to do the show, I had no idea where to begin. I talked to some people who had experience putting on shows, and several people recommended I talk to Shawn Hileman.

I knew of Shawn, but our paths had never crossed. I reached out to him to see if he’d be interested in talking with me about it and we agreed to meet up at an AIGA event later that month. We sequestered ourselves into a corner with a couple of drinks and while I spitballed some very, very loose ideas Shawn gave me some much needed perspective on how to better define what the show could be and how to pull it off. 

Shawn suggested that if the show were to benefit an organization, it should be an organization on the local level that would see immediate results from our generosity. He had a friend, Leslie Grace, who started the Nebinger Art Program, from scratch and was funding it herself. To keep the program going she finds herself having to hustle in order to make sure that her students want for nothing. As far as causes went, it sounded like the perfect fit. But we would need a theme for the show that reflected it.

Shawn and I would reconvene on the idea of doing a show together intermittently over the next year before the idea of doing the Design From Memory show finally crystallized for me. One of my favorite questions when I’m sitting down with someone for the podcast is “What was your first design memory?” The answers are never the same and inherently give an insight into the person’s work. How people would interpret their first design memories into a piece of art was an intriguing proposition, and seemed to reflect what Leslie was doing with her classes; creating design memories.

All of this ultimately led to the Hi-Res Design From Memory show last Saturday at Masthead Print Studio, with over thirty previous guests of the show contributing pieces that interpret their first design memories, with all the proceeds going to the Nebinger Art Program. As I write this, I still can’t believe how amazing the night was. The Philly design community came out in force. It was so incredible to see so many familiar faces as well as so many new faces. 

The work was outstanding, from Kenny Kim’s hand-lettered goalie helmet to Mary Kate McDevitt’s tribute to her Light Bright to Mike Smith’s piece dedicated to his fascination with space to Greg Christman’s exploration of “that S everyone drew in middle school,” there was so many inspiring pieces in this show, all examples of the tremendous talent in this community. 

Best of all, we made over $700 for the Nebinger Art Program, exceeding our expectations for the night. The money raised last Saturday will go towards supplies like paintbrushes, specialized scissors, paper and more, and most importantly will help to get a ceramics program running at the school. 

I hope you had an opportunity to experience the show first-hand, but if not, have no fear. Back to that whole idea of seeing where I could push the show, I decided I would have the mics up and running in a room above the gallery. I spent most of the night running around like a cat with ADD, pulling artists and well as guests upstairs to talk about their inspiration and impressions of the show, all culminating in what will be the next episode of the show on May 8th. I really hope you'll listen and hear the enthusiasm that was in the room that night. It was really inspiring.

Also, if you’re already a Patreon supporter, you’ve had an entire month of new content from us, starting with our bonus episode with Tony Nguyen as well as regular episodes with Melissa Morris Ivone, Shawn Hileman and Sam Heimer, and this week’s episode with Nate Harris. And next week you’ll get a brand new bonus episode with friend of the show Patrick Macomber. It was great to catch up with Patrick and I think you’ll really dig the episode. Then the week after that you’ll have the Design From Memory show on the regular feed, so if you’re not sick of us already you will be in the next few weeks.

And if you’re not a Patreon supporter, just think of all you’re missing out on. When you become a supporter for just $2 you’ll get access not only to Tony and Patrick’s bonus episodes but all previous bonus content as well, which at this point is over six months of content. Sign up while you’re here and help support the show and all we’re doing over here.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the artists who contributed to this show. I am truly a fan of everyone who was involved with this show and everyone really came through in a big way. Your work was outstanding. Plus, a big thank you Shawn, J.P. Flexner and everyone at Masthead Print Studio for putting the show together. I trusted Shawn wholeheartedly and he put on an amazing show. 

It didn’t hit me until much later, but I think this show was the favorite thing I’ve done since launching the podcast, and I couldn’t be happier with the result, so finally, thank you for coming out and supporting the show as well as listening to the podcast. It wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t such a vibrant, dedicated community to support it. You’re the best!

Onto the next thing. Talk soon!

R.