Don’t think, Feel

April 09, 2015

Barcelona born and Brooklyn-based graphic designer, Alex Trochut, presented a vigorous lecture on Saturday to the Cooper Union Pre-college Arts Program. Taking the students back to his roots in Spain and his family's printing and typeset business, Trochut shared insights into his personal and artistic development, describing his rapid path toward becoming a world-renowned graphic designer and typographer.

Step by step, Trochut took the audience through each stage of creation and development for the Rolling Stones album cover “Rolled Gold,” and for his ads for Adidas, Arcade Fire, and Nike. He dazzled the audience with the rich elegance of his imaginative designs, while pointing out the extent of his overall control of execution.

In his talk, Trochut invoked figures from Bruce Lee, “Don’t’ think, feel!” to Carl Jung, “The creation of something new is not copied by the intellect, but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity”, he asserted that the creative process is a battle between the rational and emotional.

Trochut encouraged the students to experiment in their own work, employing his philosophy of mixing, remixing, stealing, and ultimately creating in one’s own unique way.  He mentioned invaluable sources for inspiration including “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, and Kirby Ferguson’s, “Everything is a Remix”.

Overall, the talk gave a singularly inspiring impression of a designer and artist’s career that embraces five very challenging, but constructive creative steps: in which working through one’s comfort zone leads to first imitation, then doubt, then failure, but ultimately satisfaction.

The afternoon topped off with a lively Q & A with the students inquiring on how he sees balancing the worlds of art and commerce and how he addresses the challenges of the demands of his clients.

His final words of advice: don’t let frustration get in the way of your dreams and goals.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.