Inspiration log: Dear Data postcards, Degas at MoMa, Big Magic, Today clock

Inspiration log is my weekly collection of 5 things that have touched me creatively. 

1) Dear Data postcards - two women exchanging illustrated bits from their lives

Dear Data is a year-long, analog data drawing project by two women, Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. There's 52 sets of postcards total, each on a theme, ranging in topics like privacy (below), phone addiction, compliments received, to urban animals, apologies, and swearing. 

Week 51: Privacy

Week 51: Privacy

Week 51: Privacy

Week 51: Privacy


I was so inspired by the analog nature of this project; the act of obsessively documenting small, otherwise unnoticed facets in our day-to-day lives, and seeing what insights it might bring. It makes me ask the question: what kinds of things in my life could be interesting to document? This form of documentation feels like the opposite of what we see on social media - for introspection and contemplation, not for garnering likes. 

2) The minimalist hand lettering of Jorgen Grotal, 18 year old designer

I really appreciate this Norwegian designer's style - it's spacious and clean, yet retains a soft, handmade feel. I'm also impressed by how young he is for being so prolific, and already doing client work! I can barely remember what I was making when I was 18. 

3) Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

A designer friend generously gave me this book (Hi, Ivy!) because she had two copies -- and after reading it (in just a few sittings) last week, I can understand why she says it's her creative bible. While part of me hesitates to embrace Elizabeth Gilbert's work, I really appreciate the sincerity and openness with which she speaks about wrestling with (and courting, and learning to love) the creative process. It's got soul and power. Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

On paradoxes:

My creative expression must be the most important thing in the world to me (if I am to live artistically), and it also must not matter at all (if I am to live sanely).
— Elizabeth Gilbert

On fear:

If you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

On facing dark voices:

Speak to your darkest and most negative interior voices the way a hostage negotiator speaks to a violent psychopath: calmly, but firmly. Most of all, never back down. You cannot afford to back down. The life you are negotiating to save, after all, is your own.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

4) Degas at MoMa: A Strange New Beauty

Last Friday I saw the Degas exhibition at MoMA (sidenote: I realized that if you plan to go to MoMA more than 4 times a year, it becomes worth it to buy a membership!).  The exhibition itself felt sombre and yet magical - there's something about the missing faces and gestural washes that really captures a feeling of transience. 


From the MoMa website:

Edgar Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet, yet his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless experimentation. In the mid-1870s, Degas was introduced to the monotype process—drawing in ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print. Captivated by the monotype’s potential, he immersed in the technique with enormous enthusiasm, taking the medium to radical ends. He expanded the possibilities of drawing, created surfaces with a heightened sense of tactility, and invented new means for new subjects, from dancers in motion to the radiance of electric light, from women in intimate settings to meteorological effects in nature.

5) Today clock - changing the way we experience time 

I was really intrigued by this project on Kickstarter. Instead of using hour and minute hands (thus presenting time as measurable and discrete), its one revolution represents the entire day. Perhaps it's a reminder for us to not always feel the need to chop up time, feel dictated by time, and instead, to appreciate the singular passing of each day.