April 24, 2018

Creative Crush ~ Isamu Noguchi

It all started with a coffee table.

My fella sent me a text with some pictures of a table his dad was getting rid of and offered to me for my new apartment. The table is gorgeous and I immediately knew I wanted it. I also felt that it is so beautifully designed it must be a designer table. I turned to Pinterest with half a mind to find out who designed it, but also just to figure out how other people styled coffee tables with a glass top and wooden base. And behold! Within a 10 second scroll I discovered the exact make (or, at least, the inspiration), and began learning about the incredible Isamu Noguchi.

Isamu Noguchi was born in LA in 1941, on November 17th (hellooo fellow scorpio!) and passed away at the age of 84 in 1988.

Noguchi is my kind of creative: he never limited himself to a single medium or field, he was a modernist/formalist/whateverist who worked with great abstract shapes and subtlety, and he wasn't all about being in the spotlight. He just created prolifically and consistently - from what I can tell. He was inspired by his travels around the world, as well as the first 13 years of his life living in Japan. Noguchi started his schooling in pre-med, and slowly gravitated towards the creative world of sculpture instead.

I love that Noguchi dabbled in sculpture, set design, landscape architecture, art for public spaces, and furniture design! What a great way to apply your skills and creative eye to multiple disciplines and spread it farther than you can just through one medium. This fluidity in mediums really speaks to me - there are some days where I want to do it ALL. I've never been comfortable sticking to just one medium.

There are also some funny Noguchi anecdotes out there. Apparently he was quite reserved and private - though there are stories about a brief affair with Frida Kahlo (which Diego interrupted once, oops!), and that he was intermittently part of the Andy Warhol group in New York in the era of New York cool kid artists. He also designed playgrounds, but none were ever built as far as I can tell. I read that he believed in the power of play which I whole heartedly believe in (another blog post anyone? I keep promising new ones the more I write.... ha!).

So back to the coffee table. The table was distributed through the Herman Miller company along with other modern furniture including another favourite of mine - Charles Eames! It's gorgeous and I am so pumped to have one (or the rip off of one?) in my home-to-be. I'll have to find a way to discover if it's authentic or not. I'll get back to you on that one! But for now I'm excited to have the very cool Noguchi's design around me and to learn more about the artist. Hayden Herrera, who wrote biographies for Frida Kahlo and Arshile Gorky (two more favourites), also wrote a biography for Noguchi and even speaks about it in a lecture you can listen to online. I'd love to read this biography some day! If you want to learn more along with me, here are a few starting points:

- The Noguchi Museum: Biography
- Wikipedia: Isamu Noguchi
- Listening to Stone: Hayden Herrera Lecture
- Look at his work on Pinterest!

Noguchi inspires me in his curvy shapes and forms, his love of play, texture, and craftsmanship. What do you like most about his work?


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