Welcome to the first day of my inspiration series! I'm so excited about sharing some really
neat stuff with you all this week. I hope you enjoy it.
I did want to mention that most of the words and comments I give during this series have been thought up on the spot. I haven't thought about how certain things inspire me and how I could act on that inspiration until I'm writing the post in many cases. So I am thinking on my feet here. :)
Also, I realized I forgot to mention in the announcement post what inspired me to do this series. Ellie did a series on her blog awhile ago on inspiration, so that's where I got the idea. Thank you, Ellie!
Today's theme is art & crafts, so I'll be highlighting some different artists' work and other artistic things.
I'd like to start with some classic photography. Jalynn mentioned in a comment that photographers like Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and Elliott Erwitt. I had already been familiar with Dorothea Lange's work, as you probably are, too. She was a well known photojournalist from the Great Depression era. She is best known for her migrant mother photo. As I looked at her work, this photo caught my attention.
|Members of the Mochida family... by Dorothea Lange|
I think this photo stuck out to me because it was different from most of what Dorothea Lange is known for. Her Depression photos are unforgettable (as you will see soon), but this one is of a Japanese family awaiting deportation to an internment camp during WWII. The clarity and realness of this photo is beautiful. And I think it's so interesting to observe the different expressions of the members of the Mochida family. I think the second little girl from the left looks so sad. I think the reason this photo is important because it says something. And that's hard to do. It really speaks to a heartbreaking time in American history.
I want to share another of Dorothea Lange's photographs with you because they are just so excellent. This is one of her Depression photos, but one I hadn't remembered seeing before.
|...Children living in camp by Dorothea Lange|
I love the emotion in this photo. The children truly look alone and scared in the midst of much hardship. But what's also interesting about this photo is the use of proportion. A closeup of the children would have been powerful, but the faraway perspective makes the building look massive compared to the small children. To me, that only reinforces the themes of sadness and fear.
These photos inspire me mainly because of what I said before: they say something. Also, I like them because they're bold. Dorothea Lange wasn't afraid to capture what was true even if it wasn't happy or lighthearted. I think that's a good quality in art.
I also wanted to show you one photo from another photography Jalynn mentioned, Elliott Erwitt. I really liked his work when I looked it up. Some of his photos are PG-rated, but there's such a creativity and a genuineness in so many of them which I really love. Here's one that I think is especially neat.
|Alabama, 1955 by Elliott Erwitt|
The silhouette is neat, the composition is stellar, and the fact that the sign says "Southern Charm" makes it a winner in my book. The excellence of this photo is inspiring, but also the southern-ness of it (at least for me). I love the south. A lot. And even though some of his photography is pretty lighthearted (like his portraits of dogs!), other photos, like Dorothea Lange's, really say something. Even this one seems to have undertones of social commentary. Is the woman walking by this sign a recipient of "southern charm," or does she suffer under a society dictated by racial prejudice?
These kinds of photos that say something may seem rather disconnected. How can we use these great ideas when we're not photojournalists walking down the street recording fascinating commentary on society? I think the fact that these photos say something is broader than just photography. Graphic design is certainly capable of saying things (sometimes literally using words!) and manipulating images to say things within graphic design is a way I could apply this idea.
I'd like to show you another photography-related source of inspiration. It's a blog I came across recently called The Burning House. What? A blog about houses burning down?
Yeah, I know it sounds odd. But it's not a blog about burning houses. It's a blog that posts pictures and lists of what different people would bring if their house was burning down. It's an interesting study, and the presentation photography is very artistic I think. Just the idea of gathering a bunch of stuff and taking a picture of it is unique. I thought I'd show you two of the pictures with links to the posts.
UPDATE 9/1/11: I recently saw a post on The Burning House that was significantly inappropriate/disturbing. I still certainly appreciate the idea behind the blog, but I wanted to let you know that there was something inappropriate so you can decide whether you'd like to visit the blog.
|What a 2-year-old would bring. Details here.|
|What a 19-year-old would bring. Details here.|
Now I'll transition from photography to other types of art. First I want to show you an example of fine art, a piece by Charles Demuth. I know nothing about this artist, but I really like the piece! I saw it on the blog Smrvl.
|I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth|
I love the typography in this design, and the overlapping colors. But what I think inspires me most about this piece is the detail. This was not a quick little something Charles Demuth whipped up. This clearly took time and attention to detail. That's an important part of art that I can sometimes forget, and seeing things like this certainly inspires me to take time and work carefully. Also, look at all the layers and three-dimensionality in this piece. It looks like it continues back farther than the canvas.
Before I wrap up today's post, I have one more artist's work to show you. And I think it will make your jaw drop.
Peter Callesen does the most amazing paper cutting work I've ever seen. This is no fold-a-paper-in-half-and-cut-a-snowflake deal. (And snowflakes can be pretty elaborate!) Just take a look...
|The Roots of Heaven, by Peter Callesen|
Are you wowed? Talk about patience and attention to detail! That is what strikes me most about this piece of art. And I love the creativity of having the tree hang down off the page. That takes skill too, to cut it all out in one piece. That technique is pretty prevalent in Peter Callesen's work.
But it gets even more stunning.
|White Window, by Peter Callesen|
Isn't that neat? It's so huge! I can't even imagine making something that big out of paper.
That's it for today... I hope you all liked looking at this art & crafts inspiration! Please let me know what you think! Did you have a favorite piece I posted? Or is there a piece of art or an artist that really inspires you?