In this last post on my recent Loungeroom Residency I thought I would share some of the inspirations that I’m drawing on in relation to this work.
I have been to several master classes with Dr Ruth Hadlow, where a big inspiration is the impromptu library created by the participants. Everyone is asked to bring along a few books that they are interested in to create a small reference library that everyone can share for the duration of the masterclass. In this way so many different sources of ideas and images are brought together (although the downside is that I always leave with a massive list of new books to buy).
I love this book of photos of sculptures by Aglaia Konrad, which consists of a series of black and white photos of sculptures in museum collections. The only text is the list of museums where the photos were taken.
Inspired by this approach I decided to go back and take a look at the many books I have that sit unread on my bookshelves. I found several that were relevant and even just took my fancy. It doesn’t matter what gets the creative juices flowing.
A spread of pages from Aglaia Konrad’s book.
A seredipitous reinforcement for this approach came from this post by Rob Walker The Art of Noticing on Crate Digging, where DJ’s and hip-hop artists literally go through crates of old records looking for the one sound that will inspire them and throw up new ideas. Now this is not a culture that I am very familiar with but that isn’t the point.
This is vividly illustrated in a bit with DJ Shadow, talking about poring over over the surreal selection of sounds, many of them rejected or forgotten, in a record store’s basement. The important thing to remember is that this basement isn’t packed with treasure. It’s packed with junk. You have to spend the time to sort through the junk to find the treasure. There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing — digging. Shadow says:
There’s the promise in these stacks of finding something that you’re gonna use. And in fact most of my first album was built off of records pulled from here.
He talks about the “karmic” element, finding this or that by chance. (He also observes that there is something humbling about this hoard. “It’s a big pile of broken dreams, in a way,” he observes. I could write a whole separate essay on that riff, and maybe some day I will.)
One of my favourite sources of inspiration come from regular weekly posts like that from Austin Kleon. Kleon roams across different areas of art, music and stuff than I do, so it’s good to have a shortcut to see what else is going on that I might find interesting.
During my residency I also received recommendations from friends who, having seen my posts, passed on links to reading materials such as this article on Vija Cilmens and her intricate drawings. Cilmens is an artist that I wasn’t familiar with, but now I find her work popping up quite often.
Like DJ Shadow says “There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing — digging.”