Meghan said a version of this on our walk this morning and I thought it was wisdom worth sharing on Valentine’s Day. (And any other day.)
Team up for excellence
“Marriage takes work, otherwise you’re home together all day.”
Meghan and I got married 14 years ago today. As I was making this collage, I came across this silly tagline from a cognac ad in a magazine. It seemed like the perfect fit.
After all these years, we’re still a team. A unified front.
I often think of Leo and Diane Dillon, the illustrator couple who collaborated on covers and picture books:
After sufficient back-and-forth, and sufficient spirited argument, the resulting image appeared, they often said, to have been the work of an unseen but very much present third party, whom they called “It.”
1 + 1 = 3. A third party. A whole bigger than our parts.
Me at 20.
Girl in the photo was 21 and bought me beer.
We’re still married. pic.twitter.com/3DYSL1OAQd
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 17, 2020
Houses for Meg
Diary collages for my wife, Meghan, whose birthday we celebrated yesterday. (She loves buildings and has a master’s degree in architecture… I think our son Jules got her eye.) I’m posting them as I go on Instagram, but I’ll be collecting them here, too.
A few said these reminded them of David Hockney — a huge compliment to me, as he is one of my heroes, and his “joiners” are a big influence on these pieces.
See more here.
I tend to romanticize art scenes like Paris in the 20s, or New York in the 70s, and my wife likes to remind me how all my favorite artists back then were basically living in squalor. One time I was looking at photos of The Factory, and she said, “Probably wasn’t any toilet paper in the bathroom.”
Another time we were visiting Manhattan, dreaming of what it’d be like to live in the big city, and my friend Drew convinced us to cab over to Brooklyn to attend a party some young cartoonists were throwing. These guys, at least a half dozen of them, were living in the same apartment above a fried chicken place. Their windows looked right out onto the elevated train. One guy was on the couch, eating cereal with his feet up on on a crate, and the bottoms of his socks were black with filth. I don’t think we stayed long.
I was reminded of the filthy socks when reading about how Frances McDormand makes sure the fellow actors in her troupe stay in decent, clean hotels.
“We’re avant-garde,” she said. “It doesn’t mean we have to be unhygienic.”
LEROYING (RAPIDOGRAPHS ARE EVIL)
Many readers might not be aware, but my wife Meghan is getting her master’s degree in architecture (M.S., not M.Arch, for those who care…). So there’s not just one Kleon in our household who can draw!
Tonight I missed the bus and didn’t make it down to Vizthink, so I hung out with Meg down in the studio. She was using this crazy apparatus to do lettering:
It’s called a pantograph, or “Leroy” (named after the dude who invented it, I’d guess). It’s kind of like a compass: you basically trace a lettering template with a metal point, and the rapidograph pen follows along. I gave it a try…
…and I decided there was no way in hell I’d have the patience to do technical drawing! No thanks!
Dig my woman’s skills, though:
At one point she called me over and said, “Here, this will appeal to your sense of humor.”
She knows me well.