Where I Hope to Meet a Genius

My corner.

There is a wonderful TED Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) about the nature of genius, inspiration, and artistic talent. In that talk, she explains that the earliest understanding of a “genius” was not of a talented person or artist. Instead, a genius was a spirit, like a god or a muse, that would come to visit the artist and hopefully inspire and inhabit his or her work.

This was news to me, and news I immediately liked. Why? Because when thinking this way, I find that I am no longer solely responsible for what I can or cannot produce artistically. Beautiful journal page? Then my genius must have been around. Awful-looking page? Well, my genius must have been busy somewhere else. Oh, well.

Gilbert expresses, though, that artists have some responsibility: they need to “show up” and be ready to meet their geniuses when they arrive. Luckily, I have a place to do that.

A few months ago my husband refinished an old piece of furniture that was around the house. He made it into an art desk for me; the first one I’ve had since moving to Texas seven years ago. (Yes, I’ve been working at the kitchen table between meals, homework, and board games.) He then helped me re-purpose an old entertainment unit into an art supply cabinet. (No more cases hidden underneath the baker’s rack.)

Now I am finally ready. Here I am. Let’s hope a genius comes along!

Gilbert’s talk is at: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

An Inspiration “High Five”

Inspiration can come from anywhere out there!

I can’t explain what inspires me. I’m not even sure that I can explain what inspiration is! But I know that there are certain pieces of art that say to me, “OK, once you are done looking, you need to go make something.”


I love this Picasso piece because I don’t fully understand it. What are those paintings inside the painting? Who are the people shown? Only Picasso knows for sure, and we are left feeling that he has developed a visual vocabulary that speaks in a language only he understands.
The fox–how I have felt like that fox at times! Homer has too. I think that’s why his signature is at the same angle.Remedios Varo is one of my favorite artists for many reasons. This painting turns a simple domestic action into something surreal by its setting. I am fascinated.

A photograph by Aleksander Rodchenko

There are so many photographs of Rodchenko’s that I love! This is the one that introduced me to his work, which emhasizes shapes and forms, and yet somehow captures emotion, too. It makes me wonder if those Soviet Constuctivists were on to something.

Robert Rauchenberg

Now this is clever. Almost subversive. And it reminds me not to take myself too seriously. (Watch the YouTube video about it if you want the whole story!)
So tell me, what inspires you?