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September 11, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-11

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2B - Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

2B - Thursday, September 11, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Why September
matters

ARIST AVANT GARDE

was still in high school
and it was a few days after
Christmas. I dragged my
loot of presents into the house
and began sorting through them,
analyzing
and mak-
ing mental
notes of who
stuck to my
color coded
Christmas
list and who
made the bold ERIKA
decision to HARWOOD
go off script.
My dad men-
tionedthatthere was one gift that
he forgot to give me, presumably
because he ordered it on Christ-
mas Eve and it just arrived. Then,
with absolutely zero enthusiasm
or feigned holiday joy, my dad
tossed me an unwrapped DVD.
I shrieked and gasped and
did everything in my power not
to pee all over my fleece pajama
bottoms.
"Do you want to watch it right
now?" I asked my dad, knowing
the answer would be something
along the lines of an eye roll,
forced chuckle and then a very
frank "no."
"No," he responded after fol-
lowingthe order of motions listed
above.
"Dad, this is 'The September
Issue'," I stressed. "That's the
most important issue and now I'll
have inside information on it."
He didn't care and I was only
slightly offended, soI went
downstairs and watched it, kick-
ing myself for not owning 2007's
issue with Sienna Miller on the
cover and Vogue's biggest issue
at that point with 840 pages of
glossy ads and Grace Codding-
ton-styled features.
Fast forward to 2014 and
I've probably watched "The

September Issue" 30 times. The
R.J. Cutler documentary isn't
as gritty and revealing as it was
expected to be in 2007. Anna
Wintour didn't come off as the
"ice queen" she's been painted as
over the years and Vogue didn't
seem as "The Devil Wears Prada"
as we all probably expected. And
as with all documentaries, there's
the question of whether or not
everythingshown is amatter
of Conde Nast'sbottom line or
actual authenticity.
I don't really care. Cutler still
gives one of the most in-depth
looks into the cities, personalities
and clothes that go into crafting
the 800+ pages of the year's most
important magazine.
I anticipate September every
year mostly (possibly only)
because of the issue's release.
After I get a copy, I bring it
around with me for about a week,
slowly turning the pages, exam-
ining every ad, reading every
article, weeping until my eyes dry
out after it's all over. Not really,
but I'm definitely not above cry-
ing about a magazine with Anna
Wintour's seal of approval.
With every year there seems
to be a new crop of family or
friends who ask me why I make
such a big deal out of it and why
it's thicker than most of our text-
books. I usually act over-the-top
annoyed and say "It's the Sep-
tember issue" and leave it at that.
Because to fully answer those
questions would take me a long
time and a lot of retelling of anec-
dotes like the one that opened
this column.
Of course, there is one rela-
tively easy and straightforward
answer. September is the begin-
ning of fall, which marks a time
of sartorial change. Back before
the days of the internet and
smartphones and everything my

mom still doesn'tunderstand,
this was the issue that debuted
the fall collections that were
showcased during spring fashion
week, and that was some excit-
ing shit.
Today, we can watch runway
shows in real time because
technology is a mysterious and
cunning dame that we will
never master, so the issue's task
of displaying these collections
is less of a surprise and more
of a refresher. Despite the
change, people still love the
September issue. Vogue's
issues keep getting bigger and
bigger, showing off designer's
most beautiful campaigns and
include unexpected articles like
"Cooking With Marijuana."
It's not just Vogue that pulls
out all its stops for this month.
Every fashion magazine from
Elle to Lucky views September
as its most valuable issue. That
said, few push themselves as hard
and claim as much dominance
as Vogue, which in part can be
accredited to the nostalgia factor.
The magazine has always
sought to create some sort of
spectacle, something to separate
it from the rest and establish
itself as the leader of fashion
editorial with its September
issues. Because of that, we're
left with hundreds of pages that
will eventually double as prized
possessions for those of us who
squeal every time a picture of the
cover is released weeks before
the pages themselves hits news-
stands. Whenever I feel as though
the world of fashion has become
stale or I find myself losing inter-
est, it's this issue, every year, that
reels me back in.
Harwood is crying over
Anna Wintour. To stop her,
e-mail erikacat@umich.edu.

By ADAM DEPOLLO
OnineArts Editor
For Art & Design senior Nick
Tilma, inspiration comes from
seeing the beauty in the objects
liningthestreetsandhangingfrom
the sides of buildings; the ones that
most of us pass by every day with
little more than a casual glance.
"I've always been fascinated
with the urban landscape, and just
these things in parking lots, and
weird things that come up ... even
that sort of block at the end of a
parking space," Tilma said. "Just
howheavyit is and how permanent
it is."
While Tilma is currently using
his appreciation for form to work
toward a BFA with a concentration
in Product Design, his interest in
the aesthetic qualities of everyday
objects grew out, of a game that
he and his father played to pass
the time while driving around the
streets of Grand Rapids.
"My dad and I used to just
drive around, running errands or
whatever, and one day we were just
like 'Let's start a list and name all
of the different cars wesee,"'Tilma
said."So,while doing that, Istarted
really studying the shapes of the
cars and drawing them, studying
car design."
As Tilma explained, his studies
of car design gradually grew
into a broader study of form and
function.
"Fundamentally, it was just
understanding form. You know,
studying every detail of the car
and understanding how the
lights work, how the different
shapes come together in three
dimensions."
Tilma transferred to the
University three years ago after a
year at Kendall College of Art and
Design in Grand Rapids. During
his time here, he has assembled
a portfolio of minimalist pieces
that crystallize the strange
beauty of everyday objects into an
exploration of the intersection of
form and function.
For his senior thesis, which

q

NICHOLAS WILLIAMS/Daily
Nick Tilma holds one of his concrete lamps.

will be presented in an exposition
this comingspring, Tilma decided
to expand on that exploration
with a series of lamps made of
fiuorescent tubes set into concrete
in a variety of geometric shapes. A
pyramidal lamp reminiscent of an
M. C. Escher staircase sat on the
desk in his studio as he described
his vision for the project.
"(The concrete) is going to last
forever, which is kind of scary to
think about," Tilma said. "And
then the idea of contrasting that
with this glass tube was another
sort of play within the object
itself. It's actually set in the
concrete - you can't replace it. So
it's a kind of commentary or just
playing around with the ideas of
permanence and fragility."
At the same time, Tilma is cog-
nizant of the fact that his pieces
are, above all, functional objects.
"So it's like a product - it's a
lamp, you can look at it, it's not
super bright - but it's also ... there
is a concept behind it. I don't want
to push that, at the end of the day
I just want someone to view it as
a beautiful object, but there are

those underlying ideas."
In the future, he sees himself
working as a product designer
either on a freelance basis or as
part of a larger consulting firm.
That type of commercial work, he
explained, is, in a way, easier than
the sort of work he's currently
doing for his thesis.
"There is a kind of joy in
(designing products for a
company) because designers
love working with constraints.
The more constraints the easier
it is for us because there are less
unknownfactors."
But he certainly doesn't see
himself giving up the creative
outlet that more personal projects
like his lamp series provide. For a
person like Tilma, who constantly
looks at the world through an aes-
thetic lens, it's impossible not to
find something for inspiration.
"I'm a super observant person
. I'm always seeing my whole
environment,"he said."I find allof
these interesting-looking ... I call
them 'unintentional sculptures.'
You'd be really surprised if you
just look around."

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