Edinburgh, Scotland: Last night, I was at the book launch of a pamphlet book of poetry “Seen/Unseen” written in response to the artworks in an exhibition “Hidden Gems” at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh.
There was a brilliant turnout, in part due to the fact that there were 30 poets involved and most of them were there to read their poems. Kate Hastie mc-ed the event, having curated the book and the writers – all like herself drawn from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities. Or, to put it another way, many doing Masters and PhDs in Literature or Writing. And to put it another way, rather likely to be our next generation of published professional writers.
Morris Grassie, The Sou’Westers, Arbroath, c.1957. Courtesy of the artist. (Photo: Antonia Reeve)
Time travel and pizza….. Well, what more could you ask for in a short animation? Looking at the website https://slipperyedge.com, I came across this oscar-nominated short video. Just two minutes of your earth time. Or is it more? Or less?
Slippery Edge like to feature the work of creative folk – have a look at their website and see if your work might fit their style. If so, you can submit it to them. They draw from artworks around the world and may be another shop window to display your work. And certainly, a good place to view a lot of good work from a wide range of international sources.
If you know anyone who loves Matisse’s cutouts but says “I’m scared to make art” or “I dread old age”, show them this video. Eunice Parsons is a vibrant, working collagist in her 90s. She works with huge pieces of paper, ripping them and rearranging them carefully into new, eye-popping pictures. (Note: she made this video at age 90)
Today’s creative prompt is “cold” – my creative response is cooking a garlic mushroom macaroni cheese, recipe courtesy of the fantastically named food blog “Amuse Your Bouche”.
As made by “Amuse Your Bouche” on her blog
Here’s the story….. today being a crisp, autumnal day, I visited my favourite cafe at an art gallery (what’s not to like). However, today I had no lunchtime companion – and I’ve discovered that the number one rule of an enjoyable eating experience, as laid down by food critic Jay Rayner in an earlier post is true….. i.e. have a good eating companion to hand.
So, I dashed home with the aim to recreate the cafe’s glorious smell and sight of plates piled high with “garlic mushroom ‘n’ mac”. A google search later, right off the bat, a new to me blog popped up “Amuse Your Bouche”. I know that mine won’t taste so well as the creator’s – I accidentally tipped too much unweighed pasta twirls into the saucepan of hot water – so the sauce to pasta ratio is very low. (I comfort myself that the fat content is lower). All in all, best to use the blog cook’s own photo.
Why I love the blog’s name is that it’s a play on words – in very expensive restaurants, there is an extra course called an “amuse bouche” – literally something to amuse your mouth/tastebuds. (it’s in French). But this down to earth blog is cheery and declares that is is all about “simple vegetarian recipes”.
And my dining companion?
Jan-Michel Basquiat. I’m watching the end of a recent BBC documentary on him, called “Rage to Riches”. If you live in the UK you can catch it on BBC i-player. I recommend this documentary – I have seen others and this is the best – it draws widely on primary sources – Basquiat’s sisters, his early galleryist, the girlfriend he was with when he changed from very poor to very rich and several other key friends – and there’s the video he was in with Blondie (Debbie Harry importantly bought his first painting – wonder where that is now).
Her creative environment I find fascinating – there is such a range of interests and a strong love of craft. Her personality comes across: angsty but finding comfort in drawing as a way to remember, a way to process – possibly a response to the fact that her parents didn’t talk about important things in life. The actual workspace is quite simple: 2 filing cabinets full of drawings, plenty of paper, a well-lit desk space with drawing tools ready to hand.
Cartoonist Stephan Pastis tells us (in under 3 minutes) how he gets in the creative flow for his work:
He noticed that when he writes emails, he can’t do it when there’s music playing – so worked out that his reasoning mind is shut off by the music. So, to use the other side of the brain, the imaginative, he can close off the logical by playing that same music.
He reckons he writes his cartoon strip in an odd way – but lists the elements:
I put on headphones, I listen to music very loud and I dance around for an hour
I draw on the walls
I make a lot of coffee
there’s a mirror on a door and I look at myself a lot
Stephan compares it to balancing or floating – it’s a state you get into – not something you tense up and push your way into. He doesn’t try to think his way into what is funny – in fact, he does the opposite by switching off the logical part of his brain through the loud music.
In a separate video, he says that he has no Plan B if being a cartoonist doesn’t work out. Previously, he was a lawyer, but hated his work. Perhaps that thought helps him concentrate.
He genuinely enjoys the writing process – it’s like fishing, he says, you’re looking for that bite, that great idea.
Creative Takeaway for us:
Look at Stephan’s creative process, try and find what is healthy and yet works to free up your/my creative minds.