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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why I am a Designer - Mark Cutler

Well you knew that at some point I would be brave enough to write my own essay. I wanted to wait a few weeks, as i was genuinely curious about what my friends would write, and I have been both inspired and touched by their candor and willingness to be a part of the series. It seemed like the least I could do to finally give in and add my contribution.

The series was born of a simple question from one of the people with whom I work. I was grousing about, and complaining about what a difficult way this can be to make a living, and she turned to me and said "Why are you a Designer then"? I paused, and couldn't really come back with a smart and snappy response (for those of you who know me, you know it was indeed a rare day)!

So I set out to ask those around me who I knew and who inspire me what their answers were, and today it is my turn....gulp!

Well, starting at the beginning. I was raised in Australia, a large part of my childhood in a small country town with a population of less than 1000. From as early as I can remember I wanted to be an architect, and eventually after graduating high school, that's exactly where I ended up, Architecture School at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.

I am not sure that I was even aware at that time that Interior Design was actually a profession, but it is probably a good thing, since I think my architectural background has made me the designer I am today. After graduation I was headed to the U.K. to take a job, when I stopped for a two week vacation in NYC, that put my life on a whole other path. That two week stay turned into years, eventual positions in London and Paris and finally Los Angeles, my current home.

All of this is background though, where the journey takes you is only part of the story, I think the plot really lies in why the heck you stayed on the path.

For me there are several reasons:

I really like people. There is something very rewarding about people inviting you into their lives and being asked to create an environment that not only reflects that life, but enhances it. My clients are all very successful people and to have an up close and personal view of how they run their lives, manage their families and interact with their spouses, is a ring side seat at success, and sometimes the pursuit of success.  In return for this I am given the opportunity to show them a few windows to the world, based on my experience and together we change each other, just a little and I hope for the better.

I need a creative outlet. I am a creature of constant change, so this field allows me the ability to be constantly creating. Whether its on a large scale, like a whole home or on a more petite one, like finding new and inspiring ways to arrange books on a shelf, finding an outlet for my imagination is vital to keeping me happy. I think that if I were an accountant I would still be creative, but being a designer allows for that need to be filled in a very visual and in most cases a with a short turn around time.

I really believe that someones home can change the world. I have always wanted to be in a profession that helps people. I am not good around blood, so medicine is out, I am not as patient with foibles as I could be, so social work was out, but interior design gives me an opportunity to change lives albeit in a micro way, I think that it can change the way people look at the world and lead to macro changes. A good example of this is are some close friends for whom I designed a house. Both had lost spouses suddenly and they met, fell in love and decided to create a home, and a life that would honor those not here any more and live the life they would have wanted them to live. That home created a backdrop for that new life and taught me an important lesson about how people look at the world and how their physical environment can really change the way life is experienced.

I think that is why I am proud to be a designer, and happy to continue on this windy path.


joann Kandrac said...

Very well said Mark. That 's kind of how I feel but I like the way you said it!!

Anonymous said...

Hercules! Hercules! And thank goodness that you chose this path and have so confidently steered all your might in the direction of the life you imagined. Your creativity is awe inspiring, you're love of people is evident in all you do and your contribution is invaluable. Take it from me, just 10 years ago I lived in a trailer and was a miserable little pool boy with no desire to interact with people, and like a good Republican couldn't stomach the thought of helping anyone. Fast forward to this lovely Los Angeles evening and I'm proud of myself for having the courage to marry up and embracing the fact that I can only be second best ... because in my book being runner up to you is much more fulfilling than i could have ever imagined. You make me want to be a better (dressed) man and can't wait to see what you create tomorrow.

Paula Grace Designs said...

That is a wonderful essay Mark. Looking forward to seeing you on NYC.
Paula Grace ~