Turn To Nature
by Patrick Branigan
Photographer: Jürgen Heckel
Over the past two months I’ve been spending my nights working on a personal project that I’m very excited about. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now, while I’m still young. Though I’m not going to officially announce what it is just yet, I will tell you that it has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve faced since being a student. It has forced me to address various mediums I’m unfamiliar with; research multiple facets of design that I’ve never dealt with; trust in, and fight against, myself and my thoughts on a daily basis.
Just recently, I was working on a piece that is going to be one of the final designs for a specific milestone in the project. However, after breezing through the previous designs and necessary projects related to this specific milestone, I found myself at a halt. I had seemingly hit a large brick wall for no apparent reason – stopped dead in my tracks. I just could not find a way to create something that was satisfactory. I was struggling with forms. I was hesitant about color combinations. I was lacking balance. I was feeling defeated. I was simply not able to connect my thoughts in a way that would allow me to engineer a design with a natural, comfortable feeling result.
That is, until I turned to nature.
I cleared my mind and read a magazine – something I hadn’t done in weeks. I watched a movie at home – something I hadn’t done in months. I skated on my longboard – something I had barely done all summer. I did my best to reconnect to habits I lost due to my obsession for this project. I went to the ocean and felt it. I tasted things I hadn’t tasted in a year. I did nothing for the first time in a long time. Once I returned I found myself slightly refreshed.
Then I turned to the one habit I have regardless of whether I’m designing or not – electronic dance music. I put the headphones on and thought about the universe in whatever way my mind felt like wandering. I do this often when listening to EDM. I went from colors, to silence, to darkness, to chaos, to the ticking of a clock, among many other random avenues in my imagination.
I do the best I can to remind myself that we are not in the universe, but that the universe is in us. We’re a piece of nature. And nature is the greatest designer. With that thought I stumbled upon the following series. This sequence of ideas and events might seem unorganized, erratic, or perhaps boring. But it led me to these photographs. And it’s these photographs that reignited the fire.