Dr. Yosef Wosk on how the Carter Wosk Award unites both art and design 

Photo: 2020 Carter Wosk Awardee & Ceramist, Janaki Larsen, Shelter

Dr. Yosef Wosk delivered a thoughtful and empowering speech to the awardees, their colleagues, friends and families the last time the event was held in person for the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design presentation ceremony. 

He spoke of the age-old debate between art versus design, what distinguishes art from design, and how this award unites them both. 

“The artist, the fine artist, the free artist, the pure artist operates more perhaps as a shaman, as a revolutionary, as a transformer and as a lover. Whereas the applied artist’s work is more often thought of as domesticated, as tamed, as practical, as ritualized.

Perhaps the greatest champion and master of applied art and design was Willam Morris, the author, the designer, the printer and the seller of this book from the Kelmscott Press 130 years ago. One of his most famous statements, ‘if you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. 

There are two different things he’s brought together as we have brought together tonight art and design. ‘Know’ means to understand; it’s a rational idea, it’s logic, it’s most often related to practical design. And ‘believe’ is more transcendent, intuitive, the pure art.  

Those who we celebrate this evening are among the few, the rare, the best who are both artists and designers, mystics and manufacturers. You are the hybrid few who bridge both worlds and allow the rest of us to cross between otherwise unreachable dimensions.” 

Wise words from a patron of the arts, and one of the individuals for whom this is award is named.  

We are looking forward to once again gathering to celebrate the artists and designers who make daily-use products more aesthetically charged. Your chance to see the works of these applied artists is from November 14 – 18 at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver. Pop in for a visit of the exhibition featuring pieces from the 2022 Carter Wosk Awardees and the artwork of the 2022 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art recipients. 

More details will be announced in the coming month! 

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