The moment I saw the theme and list of contributors for this issue of Bracket, I was sold. Yes! I said in my email. I'd be honored to write the foreword. Count me in. And immediately after my response was whooshed away, after I bound myself to a gentleman's agreement that this would not only be written but written well and on time: Panic. These are people who I admire. Writers whose books I've read, designers whose products I use and artists whose work have shaped a small part of who I am. And now they were going to read this! How would I be able to do them justice? I've never even written a foreword before. What did I get myself into?
It has many children, this Hunger. Self-doubt is one of them. As is the desire to prove our worth. To live up to—no, to exceed—the expectations. The thing about Hunger is that it's both the reason we accept new challenges and the fear that stands in our way. The starting gun and the hurdles. The muse and the misery. And what a combination! Hunger pushes us into unfamiliar territories and compels us to find new angles on familiar ones. It throws us in the middle of a busy intersection during rush hour. It puts an egg timer on our desk, says "you know that thing that usually takes you a whole afternoon? You have one hour. Go!" And by doing so, Hunger makes us better.
As I read through the interviews you're about to read, as I smiled, laughed, said "oh wow!" and "oh! wow...", it's clear that Hunger, even when you're as accomplished as these sixteen individuals, never goes away. Because it can't. The paradox of Hunger is that we're never satiated. We feed it and its henchmen come back, as ferocious as ever. So we feed it again. We work even harder. We aim even higher.
Emerson wrote that a man's ambition is proportional to his abilities, that "the height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of his base." These are the words of a hungry man. And if we follow their logic, then what we have in this issue are snapshots of sixteen motherfucking mountains. Some are sleek, precision-crafted pyramids with nothing extraneous. Others are cobbled together from oddly-shaped rocks, blooming with foliage and marked with shadowy crevices. Still others are impressionistic purple swathes whose peaks jut out from the fog like daydreams. What they all have in common is that they've been forged, one way or another, through taking chances, conquering fears, and showing up every day to Do The Work.
The pages ahead are core samples, drilled and extracted. Examine them closely, but realize that like all such samples, they're merely thin slices of time, that the mountains they come from are growing larger by the day. That's what Hunger does to them. Hunger expands the base and pushes the peak higher. And it's a good thing, because seeing these mountains gives those of us in the distance something to aspire to. They give us something to be hungry for.
Designer / Writer