A couple of weeks ago, I had a day of complete inspiration. It was the uplifting, heart opening, I-can-see-all-the-possibilities-in-the-world feeling that makes me want to sing or dance or do whatever I can to express the joy of feeling alive. I felt completely jolted out of the winter and post-holiday doldrums I had been in. I owe this feeling, this lightness of heart and spirit to David Hockney.
And to the de Young Museum in San Francisco.
And “Bigger” this exhibit was! This man is amazing! The depth and breadth of what he does, just blew my mind. Sure, he is a painter as in the first image (one of my favorites, it was HUGE). The size of the paintings were such that some took up whole walls; there were winter, spring, summer, and fall landscapes of the very same place on a road – each completely different and marvelous and also recognizable as the same bit of road. The exhibit also included his drawings, iPad and iPhone works blown up to huge proportions, videos, photography collages, and scholarly work. In one room, extra large iPad screens showed the drawings come alive stroke by stroke, we could have stood there all day watching each piece of art as it was created, layer upon layer.
This was drawn on an iPad and then blown up to giant proportions, so what was created on an iPad now stood 12 feet high:
This wall of art history to show his revolutionary theory that poses that Renaissance artists used a camera lucida to project images of their subjects onto canvas in order to render them in such lifelike (almost photographic) detail. The amount of scholarly work it took to create this wall was mind-blowing. To imagine the mind who could create in so many varied ways in so many mediums was staggering.
So, with mind completely blown, we wandered around the museum some more, not quite ready to leave and found this:
This is Anti-Mass by Cornelia Parker. From across the room it looks simply cool, pieces of black material are hanging suspended by wires in the air. When people move around the room and the air moves, the pieces move. I got a kick out of walking up to it and from a couple of feet away blowing towards it to make it move. I was delighted in its existence. Looking at it more closely, I could see that the pieces were burnt pieces of wood, so I went over to read the description.
The description tells you that the sculpture was constructed from the charred remains of a Southern Baptist Church with a predominantly African American congregation that was destroyed by arsonists. This is from the de Young’s blog about the piece: “Parker captures the spirit of those who previously worshiped in the building until the fire turned it into a testament to violence directed against African Americans. Her work hovers as a miraculous, spectral object evoking both the lost church and the presence of its congregation through an absence more powerful than any figurative image.” Then it really hit me, that each of those pieces of charred wood stood in for a grieving member of the congregation, burnt and yet connected to God at the same time. Spirits hurt, yet unbroken by violence. So then I started crying. I stood there completely unable to stem the tears for several minutes.
So, in the span of a few hours, I was awed, amazed, delighted, and moved to the core. I left so much lighter than I had entered. The past couple of weeks problems (because there is always something) faded away, the to do list forgotten, everything else put down because I was completely transported by what I had seen and felt. At lunch that day, my husband began developing an idea for an illustrated short novel; I came home and created a vision board for 2014 – both of us riding high from the inspiration and moved to create in our own ways.
So, what do you do to move into inspiration, lightness, and joy? What moves you to the soul of your being and ignites your passion to create?