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Suppose you ran a Google image search for the word “design” or better yet, “art.” It is apparent the results that will soon follow. Some works you like, others, not so much. The fact is, it is subjective. So what makes art or design great?

I am under the persuasion that art and design should bring value, in whatever capacity that may be, to the lives of the viewer or user; that it should be empathetically based. This is greatness.

Design and art are derrivative; that is, all art and design draws from preconcieved conventions or artifacts. If this is so, you may be thinking, everything has already been done, so why should I bother, but you will also be mistaken. Inspiration comes in the form of making new, previously unseen or rather, ignored, connections. Beauty is all around us. It is desperately trying to reach the surface. It begs for our attention. It is the job of the designer to search for these connections and allow this beauty to impact, and bring value to the lives of the user. Art and design, both, can and should move us in mysterious ways that cannot be fully quantified.

Manifesto is intended to establish my personal sensibility towards design and art. Everything is a work in progress. Transitioning into something greater, something better. Each piece represents my personal dedication to the long process of craft and creation.

Below you will find a few pieces that give insight into myself, as well as, my sensibility. I hope you enjoy.

We’ve all heard it said that perspective is everything, and in my case, for once, this is true. Days have flown by, experiences have been had, troubles, and triumphs, growth, and change, most unexpected, but constructive nonetheless. Small adjustments, tweaks, and a lifestyle where creativity is paramount; this is me... Do you have a website? If so, what is the address?

fostered the beginnings of a creative lifestyle. I have

For real though, I am not exactly sure how I began

1. Surf and skate culture

Why yes! I do indeed have a website. It’s mostly pictures

also lived in Barcelona, Spain for 5 months. This was an

designing. I was into art when I was younger, but never

2. Motorcycle Culture

of cats parading around in hats and scrumptious food

incredible experience that I give explicit credit for helping

took it seriously. I guess it all comes down to college, and 3. Art and Design Culture

that will make your mouth water....just kidding, thats my

hone my design and aesthetic sensibility, cultural and

that being a crucial turning point in my life where I had

bedroom wall...

self- awareness, and understanding of the, without get-

my first opportunity to decide how I wanted to live my life, -All are inter-related and very much compelling for many


ting to philosophical, “human condition.” Nashville, TN is

and what was important to me. It funny how it all works

reasons, but in so few words, they are independence, cre-

Where have you lived and how have these places

my current home, and it’s great. I have learned so much

out. I’m stoked on it! Also, my love of music played a big

ativity, and freedom. I am associated with them all, and

influenced you?

and been especially engaged in the underground music

role in it.

the lifestyles that accompany because there are no rules.

Well, to start, I grew up in South Carolina; not necessarily and motorcycle scene. It has also given a fresh take on

What are your professional goals?

It’s all a blank canvas in which I am left up to my own

the most advantageous spot for the lifestyle I grew to

my design work. Other than that, I have lived here and

Well, I aspire to live a life that is creatively driven, in all

devices, to express myself in any way I please. In other

love, but otherwise, great. I was always improvising and

there, and have dabbled in curious spots including New

aspects; to push the limits and comfort zone of my craft.

words, do whatever I want. It’s good vibes all around.

creating engaging things to do, that peaked my interest,

Hampshire, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

As far as professional goals, I want to be happy creating

Name a few books that have influenced you and why.

while all the while putting a damper on the occasional

What led you to design?

well designed, engaging content, that is worthwhile and

Steal Like an Artist

boredom of an all but fast paced rural life. From an early

I awoke from a dream one night, in which I was startled

sustainable. Whether the title is designer, art director,

-This book cemented the idea that everything is dirivative,

age I started surfing and skateboarding, which have

by a divine vision of what seemed to be a mix between

creative director, designer, brand CEO, or art bum, I would and it taught me that rather than searching for genious,

grown to become two of the things I am most passionate

Jimi Hendrix, a dinosaur, and Oprah Winfrey. He/She/It

just love to make a good living being creative.

learn to make connections that seem non-existent. It is

about and have really helped spur creative growth. So,

spoke of the fulfillment found in the creative fields and

What subcultures do you participate in, and what is

crucial in an creative field, and its what keeps my hopes

without giving a life story, I would say that living in SC

the rest is history...

compelling about them?

high for the future.

4. Music Culture

Made You Look(Stefan Sagmeister)

-Monster Children

flaws in my design, and questioning my design decisions,

fail, try, try again....

-It seems there is no one more capable of speaking about Tell us about a personal failure. Describe what hap-

making me frustrated and flustered. I could not, for the

Side Note:

design than Sagmeister; my view on design has been,

pened and what you did about it.

life of me understand, why he could not see what I saw

I believe that perspective is everything. In my life my fail-

unabashedly influenced. With incredible imagery, and

Well, I suppose it is hard to admit to failures, but let me

in my design. My professor and I argued back and forth

ures and successes have all given me a new perspective

honest commentary, this book is real.

tell ya, I have had my fair share of ‘em. One in particular

for about 10 minutes before I was finally able to slunk

in some way, and allowed me develop as a person, artist,

Harry Potter(the entire series)

centers around the development of my aesthetic and

back down in resignation. After the critique ended, I

designer, musician, man, boy, dog, cat...well you get the

-Because let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to be a

design sensibility, so you’re in for a treat. In my freshman

spoke with him one on one, and he made a statement I

picture...Point being, if at the end of the day I can look

wizard...? It was also a big part of my adolescence and

year of university, I had an architectural design project in

still remember, he said, “Aaron, your design looks good,

back on the work I have done, and feel that I have contrib-

inspired imagination.

which I was given criteria around which to design a train

but good design is about more than aesthetic sensibility.”

uted to the greater good, and brought value to the lives

Peter Pan

station. So, I got started right away and was getting very

This statement stuck with me and really challenged me

of those around me, then I am happy. On a serious note,

-I have always been a lost boy.

excited about it. About 2-3 weeks into the project, I had

to explore design in its truest form. Long story short, I

what do you call a man with no arms and no legs in a

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

my first large scale critique. I was feeling good about my

started completely over on the project, learned from the

pool??....Bob. Ok enough of that, time for a beer. Cheers!

-Crucial to my undergradate design career and develop- design, and I knew everything was going to go well. Little

experience, and ended up winning the best train station


ing my own sensibilities.

did I know, I was about to have one of the best learning

design award. This was definitely a personal failure of


Honorable Mentions

experiences of my life. I got up in front of the class and

mine, because I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist,


-The Great Gatsby

presented my project, explaining why my design was

so learning to take criticism constructively, and really


-Where the Sidewalk Ends

admirable. My professor at the time started pointing out

honing my craft was a big step. As they say, if at first you


art. or something like that.


M A N I F E S T O  

Aaron Tourtellot