An evening with Makoto Fujimura

Last week I went to New York City for 99U Conference. While there, I had the opportunity to attend a private art show and book release for Makoto Fujimura. His new work, Silence and Beauty, was on display at the famed Waterfall Mansion located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The carriage-house turned residence, turned art gallery was five floors of contemporary exploration, including a 20-foot waterfall at the end of the main hall. Featured throughout was Makoto’s new collection as well as various sculptures, paintings, photography, mixed media, installations, ceramics and video arts. It was magnificent.

Great art doesn’t have to match your sofa.

Those words came to mind as I wandered from room to room taking it all in. That saying is one I heard a lot growing up as my mom took me through homes, shops and galleries in various towns on the east coast. She always made it a point to show me good art, fashion, literature, architecture and design. One day it might be furniture, the next a painting or novel. The following week it was a house under construction that we’d “sneak” into and critique the layout or fixtures.

Over the course of my childhood, we spent hours together developing my eye for line, shape, color, tone, form, pattern and texture. Because of this, I’ve relished the wonder of the world around me.

After the Makoto Fujimura show, I walked back through Central Park towards the apartment where I was staying. Even though it was exceptionally cold for May, I felt the warmth of gratitude.

I’m thankful my mom taught me about good taste. She showed me form and function, pushing me to experience the aesthetic outside what was comfortable. My mother gave me the gift of art and planted the seeds for a career I never knew I wanted.

It’s now my responsibility to pass this gift to my sons. My hope is they will never drive by a Phillip Johnson building without taking it in; or that they will never sit in an Eames chair without feeling its form; or that they will never walk by a Monet, Benson or Monderin without marvel; or that they will never listen to The Beatles or read Shakespeare without feeling it shift their mood.

Art adds to our quality of life. As we were made in the image of our Creator, a perfect work of art, we are drawn to it.

Art defines what makes us human; and fully human, we will be making things. – Makoto Fujimura

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