In this post I look at framing life's current quandary a little different with inspiration from a writer at the New York Times....plus a link on how to find your flow. AND George Saunders!
Another fast week down. More good inspirational "stuff" I picked up, as if the world were a flea market of creativity (at least in my eyes). Here are some goodies I will introduce, pass along, share, etc.
Wayne Lawrence. This Brooklyn-based photography is the sh&t in his documentary style, in the subjects he selects, in his framing, in his lighting, in his absolute control of the frame. His direct and centered aesthetic reminds me of Diane Arbus or Walker Evans. His work focuses on marginalized communities, often forgotten or passed by the mainstream media. Kudos to Mr. Lawrence for showcasing the beautiful people in Orchard Beach: The Bronx Riviera. I love the power of the gaze in each of this subjects to the camera.
Ghost Loft. Leave it to SoundCloud to introduce me to new sounds, vibes of the Los Angeles-based musician/remixer. Enter Ghost Loft's "So High." I completed much inking to this song over the past days....
Seed-to-Table Programs. The seed-to-table school programs allow local farmers to include school-age children in the process of farming food that goes onto their table in the lunchroom. Today I was lucky enough to follow along and witness a program in action. I learned about the compost toilet, the amount of heat horse manure produces, how to layer compost, how to use a wide-edged soil fork. The group of environmental twenty-somethings were genuinely engaged and excited to share their passion for organic farming and vegetable making.
Below are the photos/illustrations from the week....click on an image to start the brief photo essay with little narratives.
Have a great weekend. Please send me a comment or note about what inspired you this past week.....
Looking back over the week, here are some things that inspired me. And perhaps you too get inspired by angles, light, color....small quiet moments? Among the photographs I captured, here are some other media greats I want share....
Sally Mann's Exposure (New York Times), enjoy this article and excerpt from her forthcoming Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs. It's so exciting to hear Mann talk about her extraordinary work from 20 years ago. I poured over her images and books throughout the years. To "hear" her voice in prose, rather than photography is another new intimacy.
Tritonal's "Satellite." Just a good spring song, with the car windows down and snow covered mountains shine bright against the panoramic clear sky. I'm a sucker for Austin (Texas) ambient and progressive trance groups....
Stay Still, Stay Silent. Leave it to the cool artistry of a Finnish-Swedish woman to transform webcomics to a new level. Amazing work she has online. This inspiration comes from a teenager I mentor, as we discussed her narrative arch/character development on her own webcomic. She's really pushing the boundaries. Exciting to see her develop....
Click on each photo for a little narrative....
Have a great weekend....get outside.
Remember your first career dream? Or maybe you're still having them, working on them, making them up as you go? I remember taking these photographs and finding a storyline--completely opposite worlds--and wondering what the woman in Griffith Park (Los Angeles) with the large tatt wanted for her life compared to what these two little girls were saying mid-conversation with a fence in between them. (Note: As sad as it sounds, this is how I spend some of my time...as a creative nerd.)
I tutor kids/teens and ask them to look for inspiration in all the weird, hidden, and random parts and pieces of their life and the world. Inspiration brings forward a happy self. I like this collection of Psychology Today articles on "psychological spring cleaning." Happy cleaning!
Send a comment or note if you have a happy self cleaning method to share....
I'm not sure where the saying "look beyond your nose" came from, BUT it's popular with mothers when talking to their children in search of something. In fact, I, on occasion, have used the idiom myself. So, here is an interpretation of the idiom when I stopped looking at my stupid smartphone when I walked into the coffee shop after watching "Song of the Sea" (awesome aesthetically pleasing and original film!) with the kiddos. Thump has delicious homemade chai tea and the kids loved their "real" hot chocolate. (Wow, taste the melted-chocolate-bar-in- there kind of drink!)
Have a great day and look beyond your nose for something new....or with a new filter, at least.
Back at the notebook of small pieces--tiniest snippets--of daily life. Still reading Robert Henri's "The Art Spirit" in small stretches of time and finding inspirational nuggets in this timeless 1923 work of art on being an artist.
Snow dump. Studio play. A few shots of a little graphic narrative I've been producing on and off since Spring 2014. I sketched most of it last March-April. Left it. Hid it. And now inking it upon my return into winter.
Here are two things worth listening to, if you need some audio noise in your work-life. Cooking. Running. Working. Writing. Sketching.Cleaning. However. Wherever.
Spend your time doing things that make you forget time exists...this is a sign of your life's true passion.
Consider musical artists VOYAGEUR, LAU3, Jaccoo.....found in the rounds of AirWaveTV, like this contemplative song, Jacoo "A Word of Peace"
This past summer at Three Creek Lake, while I read a book in a canted position from a portable chair, a large man approached me. He had long sideburn chops, a belly that hung over his rodeo belt buckle, and two handguns strapped to his chest in a holster. He had come out of the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Cascade Mountain Range.
"I'm surprised you aren't reading a Kindle!" he said with a toothy smile.
"I'm no Luddite," I said. "I just prefer roaming the aisles of a library to see what I can find. I don't get that same feeling on Amazon, if you know what I mean."
"I do! I do!"
This strapped stranger and I talked for 20 minutes about books, about his life working the Barrow, Alaska pipeline (he was on his 10-day hiatus from work), and the woman he waited 20 years to catch and marry. The man was a short story in the flesh. I lived this man, this character from being in the world, rather than staying holed up in my studio and thinking up stuff. It was a genuine moment of authenticity. I appreciated him for being strange, vulnerable, and present. This man reminds me to get back to the creative version in me that I hide away during training, volleyball season, and long runs. Winter is coming, which means it's time to buckle down, resort to a warm little room of creativity, and drum up or polish off old projects I left for good weather, a mountain bike, and trainers.
Below is a gallery for you to flip through. Click and flip! Maybe it will bubble up something in you, too.....
This little gallery comes from a rare, free Friday afternoon, when I put up my feet and started to read little library finds: David Lynch's "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" and "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.
Strange coincidence: wouldn't you know that David Lynch credits this Henri book he read as a high school senior and how it became an influential piece to becoming a painter, then filmmaker. I found these two books independent of each other at the library....I MUST(!) be onto something creatively....awesome synchronicity. Digging back into poetry and film feels good again....
Juhea Kim, a Princeton graduate and former Random House editor, is the co-founder of the 100% vegan lifestyle network, Peaceful Dumpling. I'm excited to announce that I am a contributor to the PD mission, platform, and content. Find my latest personal essay and photo essay, Sweet Silence - A Story of Finding Stillness, at PD. As the creative train goes, I have more in the works. Keep stretching yoga style, pound out the cardio mix, listen to the wind, drink green tea, and eat your antioxidiants, folks. Namaste.
I envy people really focused and really good at one art form. Painter. Writer. Dog groomer. Software developer. Interior designer. Teacher. My artistic arsenal is varied and wide, stretched thin most of the time, which means I have a messy studio and crammed satchel when travelling across the country. I'll come across a kernel of inspiration and then I think: what is the best way to express this--words, photographs, illustrations, what?
Sometimes I post photographs here when the mood strikes me. As of lately, I have been just keeping most of my artistic work backlogged under lock and key, having no idea what to "do" with it. A studio of creative orphans, I like to think of them.
I came across this pen-ink illustration in a vintage book. And adored the grain of the work. Apparently, it struck a cord...as I think about multi-universes, astral karma cords, energies of attraction, and pursuit of awareness and understanding. A lot going on! I hope you have a functional way of channeling your creative energy. Shiva and Shakti swirl around me, telling me to be patient with my creative self as pieces eek out.
Call it backlogged with life, art, exercise, and family. Blogging, or sharing, has taken a backseat. While reading my daily dose of NYT, I came across this great op-ed essay. This portion pulled at me:
My tall German girlfriend, also a private yoga teacher to the Malibu elite and fabulous, and I used to spend our afternoons talking about Buddhism, Hinduism, mothering, spirituality, and mindfulness, while we ate raw avocados sitting across from each other on park benches and felt the Southern California sun on our faces and exposed arms. When I perform yoga each day I think of her and that warmth. We haven't seen each other in over a year but still write when we get a chance. We're not the social media type--her an ocean gal; me a woodsy gal; we're offline most often.
As I've been spending nearly all my time in the studio working on a larger piece of work, I think this little illustration is appropriate for Illustration Friday. She mediates starting at 3:30 in the morning. I begin drawing at 5 in the morning. Art is my meditation as I drift into a space way beyond myself. Do you have a space like that?
Life out take 1. If you too like creativity and new tastes, buy a little rainforest for the tongue. Product consumed and enjoyed: Organic Jade Pearl Rice by Lotus Foods.
Life out take 2. The other day I conducted an art literary and workshop on Georges Seurat's pointillism and his giant painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" to a class of little kids. A tape measure, enthusiasm, Q-tips, tempura paint, and intense concentration pervaded our space. They produced some masterpieces. It's so much fun to see how they each take the concept and run with it in their own imagination.
The Hairpin Magazine published a little scatter graph of mine (based on highly scientific(?) raw social science data). I will mention here, as a disclaimer, back in the day, I got a terrible grade in college statistics for clinical psychology majors. (Note: I remember breaking down into tears in the professor's office one day. I don't remember why, but I remember him looking visibly uncomfortable. He did not exude warm fuzzies.)
Random parts of inspiration on a free day with the family....
- Noshed on some paleo, gluten-free pizza with the pleasant conversationalists (i.e., we discussed summer vacation plans and trip ideas)
- Let me not forget the inspiration of a green-hued painted woodwork with candy apple red napkin dispenser...right there....
The snowy days do not keep me down. Rather, they are wells of inspiration and childish delight. I took this shot around 7 am, after spending two hours writing, and commencing with a green tea latte and revising one short fiction story along with Coffitivity. My doggy was doing the business while I waited at the door.
After a splendid Valentine's Day date and the will to just stay put today, I am making homemade gluten-free pretzels (plenty of ways of use up the assortment of mustards in the cabin) and read this sweet little book on creativity: Making Art a Practice by Cat Bennett. I found it at the library in a roaming daze, a favorite state of mine in a library. I work out a little. I hike with the gent. I do a few more push-ups here and there while waiting for this or that. Here's to small joys...and hoping I don't burn the pretzels now...no promises. It's a carb night! I can feel it...screw balance on a Saturday night, I say.
Happy New Year. This morning I decided to go through old drafts of stories I had written and then let them die a slow death, until now.
I happened across one from over a year ago. Part of it I like. Part of it I deleted. The give-and-take of the creative process is an interesting intersection of will and collapse. But as I start 2014 with more stories collected and finished, I think of little spots I adore and keep safe in my arsenal of architecture of storymaking.
Let the muse infuse new hues. May you find your inner beast of creativity....and run a mile or two for good measure.
There is no sound of one headlight. You might not notice it in the city. Until you get way outside the county lines. Then, your headlights shine on an old abandoned ski resort, even the little rental cabins left astray, and then you know something is up. Something is up with winter places in the summer, with rusted out ski lifts and creaky doors where you know rats have danced since the days people left. At the threshold of such a place and in the dying light of day, do you enter?
I have found such a place on the way back to the cabin. And it is an imagination goldmine. I hope you have places like this, too....