This month I turned 40 – AAARGH!
I’ve been on a journey to find my creative self since the beginning of this year, aiming to catch my passion for all things art and design and release it onto paper and screen.
In February I realised I was stuck in ‘lack of creativity and inspiration’ limbo…
In March I rediscovered old art pieces…
In April I showed my love for logos I designed that never had the chance to fulfil their purpose…
In May I got my creative juices flowing by designing a logo for a creative copywriter and B2B digital marketer…
This month, to celebrate the end of my 30s and welcome in my 40s, I’m reawakening my inspiration by looking back through pieces that have influenced me in all parts of my creative life: art, photography, design, architecture… pieces that have stood the test of time and which I will always have a divine love affair with.
Frida Kahlo has made the biggest impact on my life this past year. More than any of her haunting creations, it is Kahlo, herself, who inspires me. Her self conviction! Unashamedly and unapologetically daring to live the life that she desires, despite all the challenges that life threw at her, is how I want to live.
Whaam! by Roy Lichtenstein
Lichtenstein has always been my all time inspirational Pop Art artist. This one is my favourite piece. I love the simplicity of Whaam!‘s form and colour palette against the immediacy of the image.
Your Ocular Relief by Olafur Eliasson
Your Ocular Relief is a recent discovery of mine, and is one that surprised me as I am not usually a fan of installation art. I’m wondering if it’s the play of light and colour that attracts me?!
The Winter Soldier (credits) by Erin Sarofsky
This was the first movie, ever I think, that I remember the credits more than I did the film. Simple yet effective. And who doesn’t love Chris Evans’ Captain America?!
The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Night is, with it’s varying brushstrokes and blue hues, chaotically beautiful.
The Scream by Edvard Munch
This painting always had an emotional impact on me. I could feel the anxiety and turmoil in the swirls of those brushstrokes. Then came the realisation that the main figure, who was the one I thought was screaming, is in fact reacting to a piercing scream heard in the distance. Anxiety and turmoil turns to fear. I don’t know how I feel about this painting now.
The School of Athens by Raphael
I want to be in this room. I want to be amidst some of the most brilliant minds in history, listening to their conversations. Learning from them. The closest I have been to this kind of experience was in my art class back in high school when we would all be quietly working on our creative projects and, more recently, when I’ve been in a virtual work session with my sisters. Can you imagine it though? The world’s most important, philosophical subjects being discussed in a divine setting.
The Kiss by Rodin
If you read my blogs, you’ll know I am totally in love with this sculpture.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (preliminary sketches) by Wes Anderson
I already loved the art/creative direction of The Grand Budapest Hotel and then I saw a talk with Wes Anderson online, during the Adobe Max conference. His preliminary sketches just blew me away. What a visionary!
The Floor Planers by Gustave Caillebotte
My eldest sister used to have a postcard of The Floor Planers stuck to the mirror when I was growing up. I remember being fascinated by it. At that age I was unable to articulate what I felt but now I think it was because of the subtlety in the details. Look at the central figure’s ring…
The Flight Attendant (credits) by Taka Ikari
I remember the first time I watched the new Netflix show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a show I had grown up with, and absolutely loving the opening credits. Then I watched The Flight Attendant.
The Drifter by Jack Vettriano
My older sister gave this as a birthday card to me one year and I’ve had it ever since. A happy reminder of the Golden Age of Cinema that I grew up with and still love to this day. Gene Kelly. Frank Sinatra. Humphrey Bogart. A wonderful escape from anything remotely related to real life.
The Big Reveal BAFTA, The Grand Budapest Hotel by Malika Favre
I love her style. I love her work. I love her representation of life both in colour and black and white. I just love Malika Favre.
The Beloved by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
My sister gave this to me as a paper weight a long time ago and I’ve always loved it as it reminded me of my Mum and us four sisters.
Sun in an Empty Room by Edward Hopper
When a painting can make you feel like you are in it is masterful within itself. When you can feel like you can touch the warmth of sunshine in the room is a whole other technique. How an empty room can feel so full is what I love about this painting.
Stamp by Massimo Vignelli
I’ll be completely honest here. I only really discovered Vignelli whilst doing this blog post and I will definitely be looking into his work more because I love it. This would be where I use hashtag #DesignerGoals on social media.
Spring is in the Air by Gizem Vural
I discovered Gizem during last year’s pandemic lockdown and I have loved every piece of her work since. With a soft, almost innocent approach, the illustrations have a Kandinsky-like quality.
Shine by Wassily Kandinksy
Speaking of Kandinsky… Kandinsky wasn’t on my radar until my late twenties, early thirties when I discovered how much I love colour. The simplicity in abstraction, here, the delicate use of colour and the balance of composition and line creates a piece that welcomes you in with a friendly hug.
Self Portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi
So many of Artemisia’s works are wonderfully grim, but not this. This work elevates her skill as an artist. A self portrait like no other. Where she is painting herself as the Allegory of Painting, in the act of painting herself. Brilliant!
Seated Nude by Pablo Picasso
All these years I thought this postcard (that’s been stuck on my wall for over a decade) was a Georges Braque. It’s not. It’s a Picasso! All these years I’ve also thought that I’m not a Picasso fan. This is definitely a game changer.
Saint Sebastian by Gerrit van Honthorst
I’ve always had a postcard of Honthorst’s Saint Sebastian. I don’t even know where I bought it. I’ve always loved it though, and it’s moved from home to home with me. It’s painted with such a soft, delicate touch. A man, so beautiful, pierced with blooded arrows, almost lifeless. It has an air of romanticism.
Rayographs by Man Ray
Part of my graphic design course was to design a book jacket for a novel about the time travel. During my research, I came across this image and it stayed with me. I think it’s the definite circle central to the composition in comparison to the rest of the piece that I liked.
Orange and Yellow by Mark Rothko
Despite me being open to most modern art, I never understood the fuss about Rothko. Then I stood in front of an original. No longer was I seeing it through a screen or in a book. I was experiencing it. It was this piece that changed my mind as it hanged in The Louvre, Abu Dhabi. I felt like I was being caught by the colour after being pushed back by the energy it radiates. I found it quite hard to walk away. I wanted to stay immersed in this infinity of orange yellow hues.
Number 1, Lavender Mist by Jackson Pollock
I still want to be Katherine Watson from Mona Lisa Smile. I’ve always thought she was brilliant, but what made her inspiring, for me, was when she took her students to see an original Jackson Pollock and forced them to see beyond what they had been taught in the curriculum: “Do me a favour. Do yourselves a favour. Stop talking, and look. You’re not required to write a paper. You’re not even required to like it. You are required to consider it.” Those are words I have lived by ever since. I may not understand a piece of art, I may not like it, but I always consider it.
Movement in Squares by Bridget Riley
This piece is a reminder of how lazy I could be when I was forced to create something in school when I didn’t want to. I would stick to a grid format and monochrome palette. When I discovered Riley’s Op Art, what I believed was laziness, was suddenly perfectly justified. It even had a name. Funnily enough, this phase of my own creativity, or lack thereof, was short lived. But I still love Bridget Riley.
Inside St. Peter’s, Rome by M.C.Escher
One word: Perspective!
From The Lake No 1 by Georgia O Keeffe
The fluidity of colour! No other explanation necessary.
Flaming June by Frederic Leighton
The minute I saw Flaming June I fell in love with it. A beautiful sleeping figure enveloped in warm, earthy summer-autumn tones with a dream-like glow just above her head. The image is so peaceful and serene. And the best bit? June is my birthday month.
Festival of Holi, India by Poras Chaudhary
What’s not to love about this photograph? It’s real and unreal all that same time, with the most wondrous colour palette. It’s stillness in movement. It’s culture. It’s spectacular!
Exploding Raphaelesque Head by Salvador Dalí
There is perfection in imperfection. There is serenity in chaos. There is wholeness in fragmentation. This is Dalí.
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio
Putting aside that it’s painted by the master of Chiaroscuro (a mind blowing lighting technique in itself) look at that detail! The realism of Thomas’ finger penetrating Jesus’ flesh will have anyone accepting the miracle of resurrection, even non-believers.
Detail of the Angel from The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci
The Angel detail from Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks has always been so comforting, stuck on my wall. Unlike the Mona Lisa, I’ve always wondered what she’s thinking…
Double Sphere by Anish Kapoor
I confess, I have no idea why I like the works of Anish Kapoor but I do.
Dalí Atomicus by Phillipe Halsman
All I need to say about this is that it’s Dalí through and through. Surreal, fun and totally out there. I just love it!
Composition 3, with Red, Blue and Black by Piet Mondrian
Creativity in its purest form.
Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí
There is only one word I can use to describe all of Gaudí’s work – PERFECTION!
Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter
The colours. The energy. It’s always baffled me that the application of paint in this style can create something so beautiful.
Alpha (Two Women 1) by HR Giger
In my mid-teens, my interests were dark. I religiously watched Japanese horror movies. I loved everything vampiric. It was all about the shadows. I took a complete u-turn after having kids but, much like the Borg in Star Trek, Geiger’s art work has always fascinated me. I guess there’s still a little darkness in me as I can relate to this piece. I always described my pregnancy as alien-like, an invasion of my body by another life form. This piece masterfully fuses beauty and chaos, new and old, and the natural and sci-fi(ness) of life.
Beethoven by Josef “Müller Brockmann”
Graphic design that is created with the visual language of art movements such as Constructivism, De Stijl, Suprematism and the Bauhaus will always catch my attention. It’s concise, symmetrical, geometrical and precise. I’ve always thought I was absolutely rubbish at maths. When I design myself, though, and I understand design like this, it makes me realise I was wrong.
And finally, where it all began: watching Hartbeat growing up and being in complete awe of Tony Hart as he created art pieces out of thin air. I always thought he was magic!