MMDH: Current Muse Jonathan Adler

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Everyone has muses... people who inspire you to do you; people who give you the deep down desire to jump out of your comfort zone; people who you look up to and aspire to be a lot like in your lifetime. 

The first time I thought about my muses was not until I had already graduated from college.  I was on Spring Break in Miami (of all places) and I happened upon a Jonathan Adler store.  I was stopped dead in my tracks by the intense use of color and pattern play.  The storefront was simple, but through the window was a flurry of design perfection. 

Everything was layered extensively, and it was so much different than anything I had ever seen before.  There was a boldly eclectic beach vibe with natural, but super colorful textures.  There were ceramic heads paired with lacquered wood pieces and needlepoint pillows... all of which I quickly learned were signature JA designs that I had never fully experienced before.  


As an entry level designer fresh out of college, I couldn't afford to buy much, but this coffee table book was a must.  It was Jonathan's first published book; it was my first design book investment; and it is still everything.  Throughout the book, Jonathan talks about his own muses - people who inspired him from an early age to think outside the box, and eventually deeply appreciate the art that makes up an incredible interior.  I am not sure if while he was writing this book in the early 2000s that he realized how many people would consider him one of their muses?  


Fast forward thirteen years, and the first few months into MMDH, I received an newsletter announcing that Jonathan Adler would be speaking during an upcoming conference at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.  I quickly signed up, thinking it would be great to hear his story in person.  I went, and it was in fact really great to hear his story, his advice for new entrepreneurs, and his overall positive outlook on life. 

After attending the seminar, I decided I didn't have time to wait in line to meet him, and I continued on to a few showrooms to gather project samples.  As I was walking between showrooms a few hours later, I looked up, and in an otherwise empty hallway of the Mart, there was Jonathan Adler walking towards me with a friend.  I am not a super-fan kind of person, and actually debated on saying more than "hi" as we passed.  I processed a lot of thoughts in those few seconds that we approached each other.  I realized that I had just made this major career leap in my life, in-part because of my muses, and one of them was legitimately standing in front of me. 


Just as we had passed each other, I stopped them and said to Jonathan, "I just need to say how much you have inspired me".  I then told his friend that I had stared at his metallic tennies throughout the bulk of the seminar.  LOL.  They were both super gracious as we stood in the same spot for less than a minute, and then we all continued on. 

That was a major moment for me, not even because I ran into him by pure luck, but because I had just left my twelve year long career for something that I wasn't sure I could truly make happen.  It was eye opening to meet someone in person who has accomplished so much beyond his start of spinning pots in his garage.  We all start somewhere, and as long as you have started something you are passionate about, your road of possibilities is legitimately endless.  


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