Irving Harper: "Paper is a versatile medium"

Uploaded by hermanmiller on 30.09.2012

My name is Irving Harper,
and I am an industrial designer
and an artist who designed
all the paper sculptures
in my house.
I used to do some drawing when I was young,
very young.
I kept drawing the same thing over and over,
and it was a tree,
and I would draw the trunk, the branches,
the leaves, everything. It would keep me busy all day long.
I worked for [George] Nelson
while he was with Fortune magazine,
and I used to go up to his office in the Empire State Building.
I designed a couple of end tables. I designed the Thin Edge Group as I recall,
and the Marshmallow Sofa.
I got into doing things on paper because
when I was working
and making presentations
I would make models,
and so I got to be good with paper.
I did a lot of it when I was working
for George
to relieve stress
and just relax.
I love African art.
I don't get
the same amount
of bang out of other art at the museum.
So it influences the forms
that I get in my mind
and the things I make in paper.
I worked in paper because you didn't need any special equipment to make them.
All you had to do was
sit down and cut paper out and score it, bend it, and glue it.
Paper is really a very, very
medium to work with.
I did animals, and I did faces, I did heads. I like that horse,
but that's because he sits there and I see him all the time,
but I don't have any favorites.
I would never do any sketching in advance.
I would work directly from my head
to the finished piece.
I would just sit and dream about it.
I remember I had this circular saw in the living room here,
and I was building this counter around the room.
I hadn't brought anything else in --
no accessories.
George came by
and he looked at all this blank space
and this blank counter, and he says
"There's nothing here."
I don't know if
he meant that
as a form flattery
or not.
I rather doubt it.
Too bad he can't come by
and take a look at it now.