I am obsessed with Pinterest!  I know this has probably been around awhile, but it is a new discovery for me.  I love collecting images – I’ve done it since childhood.  I’d flip through magazines (Elle and Vogue) and cut out pictures of models or clothes I thought were beautiful.  I learned to draw from these pictures, trying to make portraits of the models.  I would trace an outline of their faces and then practice shading – until I eventually forced myself to practice without tracing.

Even as an adult I have a cork board in my home “office” with magazine clippings that I’ve collected – I might like the way light is reflected in an ad for a vase or the art direction of a high end fashion ad.  I have folders filled with things that are inspiration for ideas I want to work on.

Pinterest makes this so much easier!  I often find things online that I bookmark or download the image to a folder in my computer.  Now with a click on the “pin it” button that Pinterest had me add to  my browser bar I can add it and group it according to interest! For instance, I am obsessed with tiles right now because I want to create a “backsplash” in my kitchen.  I want something beautiful and creative, so i have been collecting images and created a “tiles” board on Pinterest!


Beatriz Milhazes

I love, love, love Beatriz Milhazes!

Her style is distinct and you can tell a Milhazes by looking at it. I love the sense of movement, the vibrant colors, geometric shapes and repetition of patterns.  It’s these simple elements combined into something complex and alive.  I’m no Milhazes, but I do feel that I can relate to her work in that I am drawn to vibrant colors and like having a sense of movement.

What I really admire and take away from Milhazes is that she takes her theme and explores it in various mediums  – she paints in acrylics, makes collages incorporating newsprint, paints murals, creates ceramic floors, window installations, screenprints, makes mobiles and has created sets for dance productions.

I like the idea of taking something and seeing how many different places you can take it.  It is interesting to see how it evolves or changes between mediums.  Here is an interesting video from from an exhibit she had in February of this year in Switzerland.  I was awestruck when I saw the sculpture/mobile.  She takes her ideas, motifs, themes and makes them real.  It’s like experiencing the painting as a living thing, a world in itself made tangible.  Even when she is using the same medium, like painting, it is the same thing made new.

I sometimes feel like I am just repeating myself when I paint.   I find myself making the same swirly
motif over and over – I sometimes think that it is fear from moving away from what you know.  With her work I can see that it can be more like what O’Keefe did with her flowers.  O’Keefe kept abstracting, trying to get to the essence of the flowers.  Maybe this is not Milhazes’ intention, but what I take away is that you can explore the same things without repeating yourself.  You can make an idea or motif new by seeing what happens when you make it three dimensional, the setting of another work or what happens when natural light becomes an element in your work your work.  So instead of thinking that I have to abandon what I think is my “style”, maybe I just have to explore it in a new way – expand on what it is.

If you’re interested in seeing more of this great artist, you can go to Facebook or the Durham Press Blog.


I heart Miranda July!

I was very excited to see that Miranda July was one of the featured artists in our digital design class.  She is creatively fearless and original.  When you see a Miranda July film, or read a story, you get to go to a parallel universe and experience something new.  Everything is quirky yet insightful and honest, without feeling forced.

I was first introduced to her when I saw her film Me and You and Everyone We Know.  The movie has several characters with lots of issues that manifest in odd ways – like the little girl who is obsessed with building a hope chest for her future husband.  Here is a great review of the movie by Roger Ebert.  I cannot wait to see her new film, The Future, which features some narration by a cat and is in theaters now!

I’ve also read her book of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You.  My  favorite story is “The Swimming Lesson” where a woman is basically  teaching these people how to swim on a carpeted floor in their home.  All the characters are seriously committed to what’s going on and it is just crazy.

It makes me think back to when my sisters and I were younger.  We would play my parents’ James Bond Soundtrack on the record player, clear a large area in the living room and pretend to be figure skaters while our parents were at work.  I remember those times as a very happy part of my life and in retrospect, part of it had to be because my life revolved around being creative.  I was drawing pictures of groceries so we could play “grocery store”, we would draw up ad campaigns for our ad agency and we would turn our Barbie’s Dream house on its side so we could pretend it was a car.  I realize that this is what children do, play and pretend.  It was so much fun losing yourself in those games and getting to be whoever you wanted.

Miranda July seems like the kind of person who does something creative, for the simple pleasure of it, everyday. She is not afraid to video herself doing a crazy dance or narrate what she imagines is the story of a random picture…she is truly inspiring.