Designer Checkout: Blaise Rosenthal

Calaveras. Skulls. The first home I remember was on the edge of nowhere. At the end of a dirt road in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada I spent my formative years. The elemental character of this environment and its aesthetic vocabulary became archetypal for me. Earth, water, fire, and wind; all in local forms. Seasons. Dusty bare feet and no shirt through dry heat summers, and the sound of crickets at night. Stars beyond counting. The still death of autumn. Winter, with rain on the roof, the smell of cold smoke, and darkness. And then spring, and resurrection. This place formed my bones and my blood, and much of what is true about me. It made what is mine, and what i have to share. It is from the residue of this experience that I form my paintings.

Where do you live / work?
Santa Cruz Ca.


What is your 'why'?
My why...? Hmmm... I suppose it's primarily rooted in survival. I'm not sure I could live without making my work. I really depend on having a medium to work through self exploration and contextualization for reasons of comprehension. One that can also function as a vehicle for presenting or expressing the resulting discoveries out to a potentially sympathetic audience. Without my practice I'd be lost and overwhelmed by reality.


Why a career in art / design?
I'm suspicious of the word career, because it can imply some professional agenda above or beyond making the work which could compromise activity in the studio. And to me the integrity of the work is paramount. But the truth is that like most people I yearn for connection. I want people to see what I make, and I want to engage in a visual dialog with the artists that interest me. The professional side of things facilitates this.


What makes good design?
Timelessness. If a piece of work can transcend the context of place and time, and by its making be woven into the fabric of the universe in a uniquely harmonious way that is both entirely personal and yet somehow moves beyond subjectivity to speak to the root of the human experience, then in my mind it is successful.


Who (or what) influences you?
I've always been very sensitive to landscape and environmental experience. Subtle aspects like light and atmosphere that define the character of a place. A passing rainstorm. The ground warming under a morning sun. A night sky full of stars. The sound of wind...


What impact do you want to make in the world of design?
I want to make work that shares with people the essence of profound experiences from my life, while leaving enough space for them to bring their own experiences in with them, so they can find their own meaning and sense of self.


What advice do you have for future creatives?
Push yourself. If you don't go higher up the mountain than your audience, how will you share a view with them that they haven't already seen.


What are your favorite items in the Autotype Marketplace and why?
Everything on the site looks pretty nice, but I always feel drawn to a nice set of pencils. The drawing set is an obvious choice. I love little sets of pencils and pens for drawing on the road. A good pad of paper is nice to have too and it looks like there’s a few good choices available. I also like a glass of wine or two in the evening, so the wine rack is another pick. And one of my favorite things to do while sipping wine is cook dinner. I’m usually the salad and pasta sauce maker in our house, so I’m pretty sure I could put the Holland wood bowl and wooden spoon set to good use. I’m gonna add in the A type tee. It’s a clean design and it reminds me of a snowboard brand I used to like back in the 90s.

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