Marian Bantjes: Intricate Beauty by Design

A friend of mine posted a TED talk on my facebook wall yesterday by the brilliant designer Marian Bantjes. Of course I have been a huge fan of her work for many years. She is very famous. I guarantee that you have seen her work, whether you know it or not. And when you see her work, you know it’s her and you don’t forget it. My friend said, “This talk’s subject reminds me so much of you.” I was a bit cynical at first, because how could anything involving Marian remind someone of me. That’s crazy. BUT he was right. EVERYTHING SHE SAID is exactly what I have found to be true for myself. I cannot get this talk out of my head. It is me. She explains what I am doing and why I’m doing it.

I have found that when I am when the truest to myself, I get a response. Little Things Studio is the visual representation of myself. Everything I make, it is so personal. It’s why I don’t take all the daily requests for “Can you put this quote with this other pattern?” I can’t. I won’t. Because that would make it their art, and not mine. When someone asks me to do something, I want to put my entire self into it. Those are the most rewarding projects. That is the work I actually like. (Designers, I know you know what I’m talking about.) Those are the things that get me out of bed everyday. Those are the things that keep me working late by myself on a Friday night, rather than hanging out with friends. I want to make work that makes me feel alive. I put down art when I was 11 years old and did not pick it up until I was 27. I completely cut off what I should have been doing. But the thing I am most thankful for is that I actually changed. I fought to start living again.

What do you want to do when you retire?

What work do you want to do for free?

What do you love?

What comes naturally?

What am I good at?

What work doesn’t feel like work?

THOSE are the questions I am so thankful to have found the answer to. I was not living before. I was working in the corporate offices of a bank in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. I had to wear pantyhose and closed-toe shoes! I will do my best to work in a place now where I can wear jeans, because that’s me. I do my best work when I’m me. I am still astounded at the response I had from my Art of the Beat piece. I can’t help but feel hopeful about my future when I heard Marian’s talk.

Please watch Marian’s talk if you can relate to anything I am saying.

And please visit Marian’s site and just gaze in wonder at her amazing work.


2 thoughts on “Marian Bantjes: Intricate Beauty by Design

  1. Nicki says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing this. I came across the Marian Bantjes interview on the Design Observer podcast and was very intrigued and inspired by the way she approaches her work. I think you are completely spot-on about being true to yourself and that showing through! Your work is beautiful and I am glad you found the path back to art. (I share a similar story…I went back to school for graphic design after being in manufacturing for a while. I can SO relate!)

  2. helina says:

    Awesome post! I came across your site from the HOW Design blog and firstly, love everything you’re doing. Secondly, I’m really admiring all the work work behind what you’re doing. It’s definitely true that you have to do what you love and believe in. I’m back in school at 29 for graphic design after several unhappy years in a lab and I only hope I have the energy you have to keep my eye on the prize!

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