Oscar Magnuson frames aren’t arbitrarily named. Each is inspired by an individual and reflects their story, era and way of life. Oscar Magnuson himself explained in a recent interview(1), “I believe that whatever product you design, it is the references you put into the object that create the object.”
As Oscar Magnuson got to know the artist and poet Karl Holmqvist(2), his interest in beatnik culture increased. This season’s frame William is born of this influence; its namesake is one of the founding fathers of the Beat movement, William Burroughs.
It takes an astoundingly original mind to create a new way of thinking, a new form of literature and the seedlings of a fresh culture. Burroughs was a typical genius – a tortured soul in constant struggle. Dogged by mental health problems, heroine addiction, tragic events (he accidentally shot and killed his wife), Burroughs led a lifestyle to be wondered at. And written about. His 18 novels and novellas, 6 collections of short stories and four collections of essays are largely autobiographical.
In 1943 Burroughs, along with his friends Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac lived a subversive existence that questioned and worked against the moral, political and economic systems of American society. They used drugs, dabbled in alternative forms of sexuality, rejected materialism and focused on simply ‘being’, living in the present moment. All three wrote. It is these incredible outpourings of literature and thought that founded the countercultural Beat movement and in turn led to the hippie wave of the 1960s. These men bravely struck out on a new path of thought, laying the way for the freedom and ease of expression we have today.
William Burroughs lived to be 83 and never lost his fascinating life perspective. His originality may have been a burden to him, but for us and countless others, it is an inspiration.