I have been poked fun at a lot recently for praising the title of this post. I'm not sure why exactly. Perhaps it is due to all those design hipsters out there that feel Milton Glaser just isn't cool enough to look up to anymore. Now, in retrospect, I am not the biggest fan of the current work being produced there, but I feel that current attitudes of artists and designers still fail to look into the past to see what came before and find characteristics, not just product, to look up to.
I have been thinking about this quite often as I try to get back into the swing of making/working/creating every day and how to push ahead through stress and doubt. One of my idols, solely because of creative spirit and humor, Conan O'Brien had the following to say as he departed his dream job working at the Tonight Show:
"And finally, I have to say something to our fans. The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
After that, and seeing someone with as much enthusiasm and creativity near tears on air, I know letting it all roll off and push onward is what always needs to happen. I am not a cynical person, but a realist. Shit happens. Moving on and working towards success is where it counts. I'm sorry to throw this out there, but you have to work. Art is work. The expectation of fame just because you're the hippest kid with a MacBook and InDesign doesn't mean anything if you can't back it up with why or how. Taking the hit to the stomach for something you've worked on but can't put meaning on, doesn't mean you fall into an endless cycle of cynicism. Self-defeat leads you nowhere.