There is something really awe-inspiring about being in the presence of greatness. If you pay close attention, you can feel the energy slow and form into a singular focus. A rudimentary version might be that of an athlete at the top of his/her game. Your body, the motion, the action, and time itself become one.

As designers in this day and age with the assistance of computers, we have developed a bit of ADD in regards to design. We can switch from project to project, designing under unreasonable timelines, and expect to produce fantastic designs. The reality is most of what we do is great for marketing. We can even come up with some really clever solutions for the design problem, but our work inevitability is done to keep the lights on and if we’re lucky, satiate that drive inside to make things around us look better.

To masters, like Jiro Ono what he does is not work – it is art.

There is a clear distinction. Designers are not artists.

I may get some flack for saying this, but being a designer myself I know the difference. To create art is to create from the soul, baring all to the world…but not for the world necessarily. It’s masturbatory in many ways. There is a part of the artist that care little for what the outside world thinks or feels about his/her art. It is merely an expression of self.

An artist, like Ono-san, creates a symphony of flavors and orchestrates each dish in time with his vision. I envision patrons who appreciate his gift leave their meal in awe and perhaps moved to tears. But for him, it is one more step to perfection, one more set of dishes to complete his masterpiece. The patrons are just the recipient of his experimentation.

I envy that level of dedication and focus in a way. What could be created with that consistent practice? If we could slow down our design timelines and focus on creating a single logo over a year’s time. What would that end result look like? Perfection or disappointment?

If you haven’t seen this documentary, you should take the time some raining afternoon and watch it. Trust me when I say, you will be craving sushi afterwards.