Blame it on a lazy Sunday, grey and cloudy morning that I would connect “blind contour drawing” to the talent of designer par excellence Giorgio Armani.
An article in Sunday’s New York Times, defines it as a technique, intro-to-art exercise – “blind contour drawing.” Freshmen at art school are forced to draw blindly for hours. It’s the fastest way to break them out of old bad habits, to make them unlearn lifeless conventions. The goal of blind drawing is to really see the thing you’re looking at, to almost spiritually merge with it, rather than retreat into your mental image of it. Our brains are designed to simplify — to reduce the tumult of the world into order. Blind drawing trains us to stare at the chaos, to honor it. It is an act of meditation, as much as it is an artistic practice — a gateway to pure being. It forces us to study the world as it actually is.
Part of the magic of blind drawing is the impossibility of doing it wrong. This makes it the perfect antidote to perfectionism, because its first and only step is to abandon any hope of perfection. But inevitably, almost by accident, your hand will produce little slivers of excellence — a nose that looks exactly right, an inscrutable expression on someone’s face, the dip and curve of a dog’s back — but then these will be obliterated, immediately, by the subsequent maelstrom of lines. I have learned to enjoy the feeling of swimming in sensory ignorance, to appreciate the vast distance between one’s hand and the reality it tries to trace.
This is exactly what helps me understand the creative prowess of Giorgio Armani. His work is unmistakably recognizable; always on trend yet timeless. It comes naturally in a context that addresses a challenge but at the same time, the simplest solution to it.
Like blind counter drawing that is joyful and meditative, one of the fastest escape routes from the prison of consciousness that can ever be found- a Giorgio Armani design is just that. A contour drawn with the least amount of effort but with maximum satisfaction. A Giorgio Armani project can flip you, like a switch, from absence to presence. Just like the natural magic that evolves from an exercise of blind contour drawing.
Photographs by Richard Powers
Article “A Place in the Sun” from Architectural Digest, June 2015, pages 103-111