“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” —Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker
I haven’t felt very painterly lately, so I thought I would give myself an hour to just play in my studio. I ripped out a bunch of magazine ads I loved from a Harper’s I found under one of my daughter’s beds, tore, painted, searched for found objects and photographed. It’s always resonated with me creatively the statement; it’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to. I might become a little obsessive about this process for a while. I’m just letting you know.
Thank you Harper’s Bazaar, fashion photographers, art directors, editors, models, designers, stylists, lighting desigers, location scouts, caterers, personal assistants…and everyone else involved in the shots I stole. Your eye and ideas are inspirational, even if I’m not always wild about the body image messaging or the products.
Yesterday my friend Andrew and I were in his innovative home studio shooting some photographs for a series he’s working on. I was wearing a mask for the shoot. When we were done, it seemed like a waste to not take a few “unmasked” photos when the light and background were all set up.
I was reluctant to post this image today, not because of the quality of the image. Nice work Andrew. But why? I think perhaps the “why” is; the veins/age spots on my hands, the wrinkles around my eyes and my grey roots awaiting a touch up (tomorrow). However, while looking more closely I don’t only see those things. I see that I’m wearing my favorite “uniform” of paint splattered khakis, a tank top and a cowboy shirt I’ve had and loved for twenty years. Around my neck is a pendant my daughter, Willa made for me in her metals class. I’m really relaxed. Down the road I wholeheartedly believe I’ll be grateful to have this portrait. Thanks Andrew.
Today I printed it at the #BCA studios on Pine Street in Burlington (thanks Renee). I plan to write some details on the back so my grandkids or great grandkids will possess some information about me and who I was in March of 2018.
Don’t shy from the camera folks. You’re going to want photographs of yourself. Get your favorite ones printed. Only having digital images is so different than actually holding a print in your hand—get multiples & share them broadly.
I had to create a few more images for this series.
Oh, the amusement of using our mind’s eye to create unusual scenarios.
When I have a lot of things to do that I’m not very interested in, I escape by creating something. Anything. I like what happened when I put off my “should do” list tonight.
A different perspective? MAYBE? That would be noble.
Nope, I was just giving my brain a creativity fix.
Vintage shoes, an abandoned farmhouse, South Dakota two-lane, a Vegas sign, urban ruins (Detroit), California fires, summer feet, Lucy & Willa, New Orleans lights, an octopus and an alligator in the Everglades…all provided my muse. I could while away many more hours making these.
However, I’m going to bed. I’m optimistic I will actually conquer more of my “should do” list tomorrow—now that my creative bucket (or bottle) has been filled.
Jim Jarmusch on creativity:
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.“
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. When I think I’m being entirely original that’s when my ego emerges and my work suffers. If I take note of my inspiration (creative theft), then my work is often more authentic. Thank you Jim Jarmusch and Jean-Luc Godard, “it’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to”. Indeed.
Making something new out of the discarded or neglected is what gives me the most creative energy. Gutting and remodeling this outdated studio apartment in 2011 was one of my favorite projects of my lifetime. I learned a lot. I really like being dirty and tired from physical work. I slept remarkably well. I knew my mission. There were deadlines.
The downside of all-consuming projects for me is that they become an escape and I neglect other responsibilities in my life. I’m learning something about that now too. When is a project a craving? What am I escaping when I’m willing to get so singularly focused? Who in my life is this affecting? How?
I’m not entirely sure what’s next. I’m learning to be OK with the unknown.
Graffiti never fails to inspire me artistically. I’m now thinking about the empty walls of my garage…so many possibilities.
Today I closed the door for the last time on my much-loved studio of 15+ years. It’s empty. My work is now in storage. This is the end of one era and the start of another.
I keep thinking about something my husband, Jeff told me a few years ago.
- The last painting in my studio.
- My paint covered work shirt.
- A layered image of me and the empty studio.