Milton Glaser - Fulbright Student to Italy, 1952:
From the very beginning of my memory I enjoyed drawing and making things more than anything else. I have no idea what the roots of that are. I do know that the act of making things was the most profoundly pleasurable thing in my entire life.
My name is Milton Glaser. We have a small operation. I love technology but I don’t touch a computer. I have people who do all of that. There is a lot of design of objects and of restaurants. We have a varied palate, I have always been interested in being a design generalist. I try not to be too narrow in scope and we do a lot of different things. We have been doing Brooklyn Beer for a very long time, almost 27 years. I had a Fulbright experience in Italy at a very appropriate time, 1952, which was a wonderful moment throughout the world but particularly in Italy at that time when it was recovering from a long and oppressive war time experience. You don’t come across those moments very often. It is hard to remember why I wanted to go to Europe but I had the feeling living in New York that I didn’t know enough about what I was supposed to know. I thought, you know, if I really had some time I could learn how to draw properly. I thought if I could learn how to draw in the traditional manner, maybe from life-casts, it would be useful to me. For that reason and others I decided I would apply for a Fulbright grant.
I was there actually studying, etching, with Georgio Morandi, who was an artist I admired much while I was here and never realized that I would have the opportunity to study with him. During that time I finally learned the true rudiments of etching and the old manner was very traditional. That experience has served me exceedingly well. The experience of being in Bologna, and being abroad, and being away from everything that I knew was eye opening and transforming in a way that I could not have expected. It challenged every assumption that I had made about what the meaning of life was. The Fulbright grant was enormously influential on my life in so many ways that it is hard to even understand it. One of the things that I realized how little I knew about everything, about architecture, about food, about life itself. There is nothing I can think of more ultimately beneficial to the personality than a year abroad. All of you out there who are thinking about that possibility, please accept my encouragement because it will be the most profound experience of your life.