Imagine coming to New York City at the age of 19, and the year is 1903. You're a poor country boy from Indiana, and the only work you can get is as a hat-checker and a signmaker at a YMCA. But it turns out you've got drawing skills too, and someone notices your nicely hand-drawn signs, and next thing you know you're illustrating clothing for mail-order catalogs.
Since you can draw clothes so well, the next logical step is to get into fashion design, but you don't care for fashion so you go into graphic design for advertising. Soon you've got your own typography firm. Then you get into packaging, and by the mid-1920s you hear there's a design scene in Europe, so you get on a boat to see what's going on over there.
At an Italian exhibition you learn about this thing called the Bauhaus, and next you start reading books by this French guy, Le Corbusier. A year later, back in New York, you've added a new line to your letterhead: "Industrial Design." No one knows what the hell that means yet, but you'll spend the next several decades teaching them what it means. You're in your mid-40s now, but really, your amazing career is just beginning.
Walter Dorwin Teague's life story is as fascinating as it is largely untold, and Jason Morris aims to address both of those things. An Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Western Washington University, Morris has been busily juggling work with researching Teague's life, partly with the help of the design firm that still bears his name--110 years after Teague hopped a train from Indiana to New York. "The Teague company gave me access to their archives that go back 80 years," Morris explains.
Three years in the making, the as-yet untitled film will be completed this year. We'll keep you posted.