Tuesday, March 16 7:00 pm
Insights: Peter Buchanan-Smith
In anticipation of next Tuesday’s lecture by Peter Buchanan-Smith (New York), we asked him to answer a few of life’s most—and possibly least—pressing questions:
1. What have you been obsessing about?
Peter: Aside from Haiti it would be: the start of a new collection (sticky tape), Small Trades by Irving Penn, The Office (the American version) and Steve Carrell, a lack of water white varnish on the market, keeping the dust in my workshop down.
2. What’s your most prized possession?
Peter: My forcola: it is the part of a Venetian gondola that the gondolier supports his oar in. I just bought a beautiful used one from a man named Saverio Pastor that was hand carved from a single block of ash in the 1940s.
3. What are you reading?
Peter: Small Trades by Irving Penn, Alec Baldwin’s book about divorce, a book of collected interviews with Bob Dylan, Burry my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.
4. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
Peter: Expensive take-out food on an almost daily basis.
5. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
6. What is one of the most unexpected influences on your design?
7. What were you doing before you responded to this questionnaire?
Peter: Sitting still, in dread and panic, not know what to do next because I am so overwhelmed with how much I have to do. But luckily your questionnaire came through!
8. What question do you wish we’d ask you?
Peter: Where did you get that / those ____________ (insert any article of clothing or body part)?
9. What question do you get asked that you are tired of answering?
Peter: Why axes?
Peter Buchanan-Smith is a New York–based designer, author, and entrepreneur whose career has included designing book jackets for Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux; art direction of the New York Times Op-Ed page; creative direction for Paper magazine; and work for fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi, musical legends David Byrne, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, and the band Wilco. He is the author of several books, including The Wilco Book, and he has collaborated on many others, including Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style with illustrator Maira Kalman, and Muhammad Ali by Magnum Photographers. His first tome, Speck: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things, which originated as a thesis project at the School of Visual Arts, where he also teaches, explores the fascinating lives of ordinary people and commonplace objects. This connection between people and objects is also at the heart of Buchanan-Smith’s latest venture, Best Made Co., a purveyor of bespoke axes that offers not only a finely crafted tool but also entrée into the symbolic world conjured by the object and summoned by its owner (adventure, hard work, balance, and so on). buchanansmith.com