I Read Somewhere

Lets start at the very beginning.

"But when you work with people who misunderstand you, instead of getting transmissions you get transmutations, and that’s much more interesting in the long run."

{From The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol}


College ended a month ago. I recently sent in my write-up for the batch yearbook. My Graduation Project internship starts tomorrow. We’re all squirming in our seats a little, as we try to settle into a new routine, now that we’ve had to have a change of scenery. For an entire semester, though, we suffered through a lot of ‘lasts’- last hostel birthdays, last jury, until finally the last day. We were all very focused on being prepared for when that fateful day would come and the catastrophic reality of leaving would hit us. Be ready, we said, for that catastrophe will come! Jokes apart, it kind of felt as if there was an unsaid mandate to perform these ‘lasts’ solemnly and well.

All these ‘lasts’ got me thinking a bit about the ‘firsts’. First day at college, first meal, first assignment. While ‘remember the first time…’ sprinkle a lot of conversations, and usually lead down a very fun trajectory, I hadn’t actually given any serious thought to my humble beginnings until I saw this HONY post.

When I was performing my ‘lasts’, everything panned out the way I had imagined. It was almost like a trial run for the real thing. Endings are beginnings of something else, and whats common to both these phenomena is to adjust to change and the unknown. Yet, on my last day of college I was ready and self assured about my skills- like an actor on the stage; a drastic difference from my first 6 months there. In Foundation, I mostly wandered around like I had walked into the wrong class and was too awkward to leave, so I stayed and took notes. I was never much good at any of the work, and it’s still a running joke in my family of how bewildered I was most of the first year.

Four years later, I’m quite glad for that actually. As with most things, that situation looks pretty good in retrospect, and I’m wrapping my head around what it means to be a beginner, now that I’ve to begin a new job. I never thought of myself as a ‘designer’, and I don’t even now, and what’s great is that I get to walk around without the self consciousness that come with assigning a title to oneself, and with a brain empty and ready to be filled up with new stuff! There’s plenty that’s been said about beginnings, by people like Steve Jobs, Stephen Fry, Wayne Thiebaud, and Andy Warhol who I’ve quoted right in the beginning, even Drake. What they’re all essentially saying is that queuing up to be something specific right off the bat, or at all for that matter, cuts out the scope for transmutations of your mind that are the base of all truly great creativity. And great fun, I’d say! 

Any creative industry thrives on newness. We’ve got to be as unique and as fresh as possible, or we're out of the game. Design comes from our senses and experiences, and never have our senses been as alert as when we stumbled around with not a clue of what to do, right when we began something new. You may say, why is being confused a good thing? But only in that confusion do we think, search and work our hardest, to be able to clear out of that fog. And if we approached everything like we did our first assignments in design school, we’d probably never have stale ideas. 

Our first jobs will probably suck. Maybe even our second ones. They may not be what we envisioned our lives work to be. But there will definitely be plenty to learn, and if we keep our excitement for learning, and that passion that made us want to be designers alive, we’ll probably be who we want to be faster, and better. We won’t be very good designers though, if we feel uncomfortable being newbies, and look aggressively for a noun (creative director, lead designer) that we can settle down with. Sameness breeds staleness. Newness inspires creativity. This world has too much in it that we can possibly learn in one lifetime. Can we at least try?

Sneha MehtaComment