Inspiration log: a 1950 film still, Tanamachi Studio, Sunday figure drawing, and Taming of the Shrew.

 

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

1) This 1950 photograph of Lucia Bose & Michelangelo Antonioni

Something about this still image - from the film  Cronaca di un Amore  - has captured my romantic imagination. Is it their pose? The distance between their bodies? The clothing and style of the times? To me it evokes an old era of subtleties. Love letters sent by post, and a general sense of yearning.

Something about this still image - from the film Cronaca di un Amore - has captured my romantic imagination. Is it their pose? The distance between their bodies? The clothing and style of the times? To me it evokes an old era of subtleties. Love letters sent by post, and a general sense of yearning.

2) The hand lettering and pattern work of Dana Tanamachi  

I love how Dana Tanamachi describes herself as "a lettering artist and designer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands." I'm inspired by her strong sense of style, but also by how she pivoted from being known as a chalk lettering artist (that's how she got "discovered," so to speak) into more illustrative work.

I love how Dana Tanamachi describes herself as "a lettering artist and designer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands." I'm inspired by her strong sense of style, but also by how she pivoted from being known as a chalk lettering artist (that's how she got "discovered," so to speak) into more illustrative work.

This past Sunday (after a bleary late night dancing tango) I got up early to meet a friend at a figure drawing session at Spring Street Studio. The model was a very muscular black man. It's been almost six years since I last did figure drawing, and I had forgotten how grounding, how meditative it feels. In a sense, it's very much like mindfulness meditation in that it requires intense focus, calming oneself to sit and see what is really there, rather than just what you think is there.

This past Sunday (after a bleary late night dancing tango) I got up early to meet a friend at a figure drawing session at Spring Street Studio. The model was a very muscular black man. It's been almost six years since I last did figure drawing, and I had forgotten how grounding, how meditative it feels. In a sense, it's very much like mindfulness meditation in that it requires intense focus, calming oneself to sit and see what is really there, rather than just what you think is there.

Some friends and I lined up at 6am on Saturday morning to get tickets to The Taming of the Shrew, performed by the Public Theater for the annual Shakespeare in the Park series. Because it was an all-female cast performing (what could easily be interpreted as) a misogynist play, it really cast into sharp relief the performative nature of gender-- how unbelievably well these women stood like men, talked like men, chest-bumped like men, commanded stage presence as men! 

It combined cultural references and aesthetic elements into this strange, dream-like concoction-- early 20th century vintage style, trashy Texan circus/rodeo, Southern beauty pageant, Donald Trump, Shakespearean verse. But it worked. It worked well, and it made Shakespeare feel relevant to the times. It's made me appreciate the power of parody. When dealing with something one disagrees with, sometimes making a point means inhabiting it and taking it to an extreme. The last speech that Katherina gives - I think, unedited from the original - in which she renounces herself and encourages her peers to submit to their husbands - is hauntingly powerful. And full of irony. 

 

5) Some indie songs I loved in high school 

Eli, the Barrow Boy - The Decembrists

Jezebel - Iron and Wine

Personal - Stars

Most people have nostalgia for their college years, but I have nostalgia for high school. These songs remind me of sitting on the floor of an old hospital-turned-dormitory-school, listening to the sound of guitar strumming and feeling this sense of spacious contentment. We were sixteen, and already so serious.