Watching and reading interviews of artists, performers, writers & film makers that I admire.
Mostly so far they’ve been all of George R. R. Martin (the author of the Game of Thrones book series), the Mad Men cast and writer Matthew Weiner, and Lena Dunham (best known as the everything girl for/in GIRLS, HBO).
This was sort of inspired by a comment made by my drawing class profs during a portfolio review in December, which is that I should read about/watch the way that other artists talk about their own work (in that context I think they meant specifically the use of vocabulary choices by female performance artists), saying that I “…don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
This I guess might seem like an obvious concept, and I have of course done some of this in the past, but not much, or perhaps not as much as I need to in the future. I do feel that my artwork and the concepts I’ve explored within it have often come from a very instinctual place, without paying much attention to what has/hasn’t been done before, or if anyone would care. I haven’t even paid much attention to consciously deciding “what kind of artist I wanted to be”, or what sorts of topics I wanted to focus on. Instead I feel that those things have sort of occurred to me “naturally” (I’m anti the word “natural” right now due to large university type analytical discussions about like, society, evolution and alien robot cyborgs, but the word still feels appropriate) — and over time, by way of noticing the patterns in what I keep coming back to, what I’m most fascinated, elated and enraged by.
“Not having to reinvent the wheel” admittedly kind of saddens me in a self indulgent way, but! but! I want people to care about my raw instincts, I want to feel like those feelings are valuable. Except that then I realized why it’s also sort of a huge breakthrough ‘DUH’ moment, it means that I can build my ideas to be so much bigger than they would be if I stayed off the internet alone in my bedroom and did nothing but write. It means that I have friends I have never met, women who died long before I was born but feel kindred to me. People who, without them, the words I use to express my feelings may not even exist at all. And this is so cool! And this makes art, as a whole feel like such a collective effort to me, if we build and expand on what’s already been explored than we’re capable of pushing so may more boundaries than we would be otherwise. DUH
(this is why I’m in art school)
Also more generally, to gain an adept vocabulary knowledge, and because I find it plain old inspiring and encouraging. These are people who have succeeded in fields/areas that I aspire to, and who create incredibly intelligent work, I want to know as much about their thought processes as possible!
some jems I’ve encountered: this interview between Lena Dunham and Miranda July aka lady writer gold, it’s really long and they cover so much, I’m even tempted to read it again but I might get lost for hours.
Also, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart and it’s conflict with the self.” – George R.R. Martin – which makes me go teary
I have also read a lot of TV show reviews lately, often excellent, and often by people who either just sound really bitter or kind of scary, which is especially interesting to see the contrasting perspectives of artists vs. people who talk about art.
So just to end on a terrifying note with this quote:
—In the bad old days, men had to court and marry a woman to get sex. He had to love her. Now, thanks to feminism, women give their bodies first and hope someone eventually will love them afterward. Feminists call this “empowerment.” —
from this terrifying article about GIRLS.
***ohhhh how silly of my to be a feminist, DUH.