Back in my midtown studio, I kept rationalizing reassuring patterns even after what were, especially in hindsight, loud alarms. My yearly income dropped for the first time in ’88, but it was still good and even though it stayed down in ’89, I rationalized that maybe it was just part of an even longer term variation. Then, at the end of ‘89 the handwriting on the wall appeared (ironically disguised as the highlight of my career): a client called with the 1990 SuperBowl logo. Normally this meant I would work with the agency to design it. However, my dreams of football glory deflated when the job arrived. Instead of some rough initial sketches from the art director, I was presented with a completed layout done on one of the new fangled computer programs. The only thing they needed from me was to render the final camera-ready art because computer images at the time were too pixilated. At that moment I became a trained monkey, and was about to become a dinosaur. And I kind of knew it. Change is very hard though, so I kept rationalizing patterns and hoping against the evidence for another couple of years - I became a "denier" – until my income was barely more than my mortgage. The refusal to act on what I knew was coming cost my family enormous trauma (we’re all good now) and arguably, my marriage. Climate, driven by processes ranging from the atomic to cosmic and composed of myriad interwoven negative and positive feedback loops, is astronomically more complex than the economic vagaries of advertising art; and the fate of the biosphere is at stake rather than that of a few artists and their families. Of course, like my family, the biosphere will come through OK – eventually. The question is whether our comfortable civilization will – if that is, there really is a climate change problem which we are causing and can do anything about.
|Garter snake near Preston Pond Christmas Eve 2015. Photo: Rob Mullen|