ISSUE #25 UNLEARNING: THE NEXT CHAPTER

November 26, 2020

I began this newsletter with the goal of writing 25 issues. This marks just that and I really am proud to have made it. Some amazing things have perspired. 

From family unexpectedly messaging about something that struck a cord, to an old friend reaching out to enter a design competition that we’re now semifinalist and will be presentating to a council at Virginia Tech next week, sitting on a studio review at RISD to collaborating on building a trellis with a colleague and all the artists and wonderful friends who have come into the Neon Fabrications family, I’m so grateful.

Neon Fabrications started off as a way to connect with people during an incredibly isolating and fearful time at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and to share my passion for large-scale making. It’s done that and also grown in very unexpected ways.

I’ve been looking for a path to build a professional network and support other design professionals with their work while making new work of my own. I had been aspiring to do this for many years without success. This newsletter has been the springboard to catapult right into it in ways I did not anticipate.

On this journey, I’ve come to what now appears to be a predisposed destiny, a growing curiosity to learn about others’ stories!

In the next chapter of Neon Fabrications we’re going to share a series of 25 interviews. I’m going to spend some time getting the format and lineup in order, taking a much needed break to recharge, and we’ll start up again January 2021.

Wishing you a beautiful and restful Thanksgiving!

With care,
Sean


WHAT WE’RE (UN)MAKING

Maybe it was walking through Sam Moyer’s blue portals last week in Central Park that shifted something for me permanently. I want to unlearn everything I’ve been taught and practiced. I want to reteach myself on a newly set foundations built from dissected old material and remade into a new personalized construction designed by not only me, but also so many inspirations for which I’m lucky enough to team.

The concept of unlearning was partly inspired by a conversation I had with a wonderful choreographer friend of mine, Wally Cardona.

Unlearning means something different for everyone. In my specific case it’s unlearning the architectural model, the sole genius model, the big things are expensive model, the public art is not for everyone model, the planning every step model, the straight relationship model, and the nuclear family model. We’re going to get personal while breaking every mold and I couldn’t be more excited (ie. thirsty) to learn from so many.

We’ll find examples of all these models in our interviews. And according to this article, unlearning will; 

  • Spark our creativity
  • Open new perspectives we couldn’t see before
  • Grow into healthier relationships
  • Connect us more authentically
  • Increase our curiosity
  • Heal our wounds (oh boy)

I’m no longer sure where this newsletter will go and am letting go of any inkling of an idea I had before. We’ll leave it in the hands of those I interview and let their big sails lead us to new oceans. The guiding premise will simply continue our adventure in discovering and realizing Neon Fabrications mission: to unveil what it takes for emerging and established artist and makers to go-big and build large-scale in any medium.

I can’t wait to see where this takes us!


WHO WE’RE WATCHING

I couldn’t help but share one more thing.

This week started where I left off a while ago with the podcast, Dolly Parton’s America. On this most American of holidays, Dolly is one of America’s national treasures, hands down. No one is more loved while brimming full of contradictions than Dolly Parton. Her life truly feels like a snow globe representing America before we enter the Winter ahead.

The podcast is incredibly well done and is narrated by Jad Abumrad, from our beloved Radio Lab. He even gets personal about his own Dad’s Iranian immigration story inside the podcast. The story of his Dad hit home a bit. And wildly enough, Jad’s dad is friends with Dolly, who gave Jad the opportunity to interview her for the series. It’s been a year since the podcast was first released but it feels more important today than it was then. It’s just so insightful and so SO good.


We’re separate, but the laughs keep going!
Happy Thanksgiving from my ridiculous and wonderful family to yours!

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