A beautiful life

So the weekend marked the start of the Rooster lunar year and the Rooster is known to be particularly vain so they’re obsessed with beauty. As well as this Roosters are known to be hard-working, talented, honest, intelligent, flexible, social and energetic so they’re so many more things to appreciate about the upcoming year. But I want to discuss the importance of being beautiful and the Chinese zodiac suggests that this year putting more effort to look beautiful and presentable will help you get further with all aspects of career and social.

I have an eye for the beautiful. I never thought myself vain or concerned with beauty that is only skin deep but I certainly notice the beauty in my life. My sister asked me a surprising question to me beginning of the year, when I mentioned how gorgeous the sky was during sunset, she said, ‘Sanny, when did you learn how to appreciate beauty?’ I thought, wow, isn’t it second nature to do so? Isn’t it built in all of us to stop and smell the roses, or gasp at a strikingly beautiful sunset? Not so, I guess. Am I particularly more romantic and whimsical than others? I’ve always taken it for granted, my ability to see things in the most beautiful light.

I have to think back to when it all began. My early memories of seeing beautiful things probably came from my father’s influence. Yep, he may not be an artist, but he sure did like pretty flowers in the garden, sunsets and oceanic views. I also noticed a few pieces of art on the walls, even if it was a basic one of two swans forming the shape of a heart on water. I remember my first drawings or artwork in grade 3 of a pretty sunset over my Australian backyard that I was in awe of. My teacher and friends at school thought I was that good I could be an artist some day. I also found out, to my surprise, my deceased biological mother was an art student. So with all of this influence, I believe it was in-built into my DNA as well as being lucky enough to have plenty of time during my childhood to notice nature. It was something until now, I took for granted and thought that every human can do naturally.

The next biggest thing was photography. At the age of 11, I somehow got a hold of my Dad’s heavy, sophisticated Canon film camera with a brilliant 50mm lens. I began to play with it as well as use a crappy point and shoot camera that was good enough to practice with. One of the biggest things I learned was seeing things differently, noticing detail, or a composition and although you could not always compare the real beauty of life with a photograph, I somehow was able to capture a glimpse of beauty that I saw in that very moment. The closer I got to representing the real beauty I saw, the better my photography got. I just wanted to capture what I saw in life and share it for people to see.

Now you may ask, what is the point of beauty? What is its’ function? I am a designer in my day job and I don’t care for the notion that design is just about making things pretty. I get very offended when people just assume that my job is to ‘pretty up’ their work. I approach it from an entirely different way. I first make sure that the communication is the function that it is clear, readable, and connects with the audience. Sometimes there isn’t a need for a good looking piece of work, as long as it serves a purpose for the communicator and the receiver, my design piece is just the messenger. However I do think aesthetically pleasing work can make it more eye-catching and pleasing to look at, therefore serving a function of capturing or captivating the audience if that is it’s need. It also connects with the audience in many ways, emotionally and delightfully touching the visual senses.

So I believe beauty plays a vital role in life. I crave it and believe that my life is the better for it, and choose to surround myself with it. It is not just skin deep in a visual sense. It is in a smile, the way the fabric on a dress gracefully sways, an old man dancing, the sound of a violin, the glint in someone’s eyes, a baby’s giggle or the beautifully smooth code that is written in a piece of work, the exotic taste of lychees, the smell of frangipanis or even in the detail of a shell. There’s so many ways to find it and for us to appreciate. And I think it’s true, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not everyone agrees with what the notion of beauty is but you can make the decision of what you think is beautiful to you. I encourage you to invite more beauty into your lives by appreciating and noticing it everywhere you go. Take a moment to delight your senses, your sight, your hearing, touch, taste, smell and feel invigorated by the beauty of life itself.