I got up early this morning to go see Milton Glaser speak at SVA Theater on W 23rd Street. He spoke for an hour, dropping his standard insightful gems & epiphanies on a theater full of adoring typophiles young and old. Afterwards they opened the room up to Q&A from the audience. I don't know if it's that MG's intellect surfs a wave too gnarly for us paddling behind or if it's just the failing ears of an 81 year old man but he addressed most of questioneers with a crusty response. Honestly, I was really surprised at the lack of interesting queries posed to the man. A few years ago he came to speak to my MFA Illustration class and I asked him a rather wandering and poorly articulated question to which he responded in that same tone. So needless to say I felt compelled to give him something worthy his consideration and, let's be honest, to redeem myself...with myself.
I asked him - being a man of great coherence and eloquence, does an artist's inability to articulate why he creates what he does somehow cheapen his art?*
*It took me two attempts to successfully pose the question. Sonuvabitch!
MG said that explaining the Why is pointless. It's impossible to truly know why we do the things we do. All of our actions in art as in life are manifestations of things we've picked up along the way. And we are best not to worry too much about extrapolating the arithmetic behind them and put the energy into injecting our own unique beauty into the things we already find appealing.