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Art is a Metaphor for Innovation (Part 1 of 2)

07:00 08 July in On-Line Journal
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shield-223326_640Art is a metaphor for innovation. Since art is not restricted by materials or functionality, it is a potent ingredient for change. When I worked as an industrial designer, I was inspired by observing colors, lines and forms from nature. I was particularly drawn to insects, especially their bright colors and funky patterns. I am still surprised by the effect of these wild combinations! Then there are the natural forms of shells, fossils, skeletal structures, plant geometry and so forth. I noticed a certain geometrical law in these, known as the golden rectangle. It is a law that is repeated in nature over and over again. I started applying this law to my designs. Applying this geometry made the designs feel right. This was quite a magical discovery for me! This formula offered a foolproof formula for creating proportions and aspect ratios. I especially appreciated how timeless the designs became. By applying these laws, the designs stayed stimulating years later.

I became curious: why did the golden rectangle feel better to me? I discovered that nature is made up of the same elements (earth, water, fire, and air) as ourselves.

Earth is represented in nature as weighable substance. In ourselves, these are our bones and other physical matter. In art this can be seen as physical substances such as paint, clay etc. It is also represented when earth tones are used.

Water is represented in nature as water and movement. In ourselves, this is constituted by the water in our body. Studies over the years have estimated that we are made up of the range of 50% to 75% water. This variation depends greatly on age, as infants have more water in their body. In art we see water as movement, by the incorporation of water in a piece and the use of the color blue. Imagine the colors of the Caribbean, or the Greek Aegean Sea.

In nature, fire is found in any warming process and in our body it is also our warming process. In art, fire is represented by the colors red, orange and yellow.

Air is found in nature as oxygen and is breathed in and out by ourselves. In art, it is represented as the lighter spectrum of colors from blues to white. It is therefore not a complete mystery why the geometric laws that apply to nature universally feel right for us too.

Clearly, I was not the only one inspired by nature. Visiting museums, I would often recognize these patterns and color combinations in paintings. I still love witnessing interpretations of nature: whether it be on canvas, or as an abstract composition.

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