Landfill Harmonic is a documentary in the works about an orchestra in a Paraguayan slum whose instruments are made entirely of garbage. I was so inspired after watching the short trailer (below). These people’s ingenuity and vision is astounding. So often I throw things out simply because I don’t know what to do with it or where to put it. I don’t really think about giving it a second life. We live a life of excess where ingenuity takes a back seat to the ease of consumption.
This story got me thinking about letting creativity extend beyond school and Photoshop, but rather making it a part of everyday life: what we choose to do with what we have or how to do without what we don’t. That’s the basis of creativity. We often think of a creative person as someone who knows how to draw or paint or compose a piece of music, but creativity is much more than that. It’s about finding a new way of doing things. It’s about finding a way to transcend your environment and circumstances and make due with what you’ve been given and making something beautiful. I love the opening quote:
“The world sends us garbage. We send back music.”
To think of the potential that lies in a piece of trash and in a human being who we would normally pity or overlook, at first fills me with shame, but it is also rejuvenating to think of the potential that lies in every thing and every person regardless of the status we assign them. It is beautiful to think that no matter where you are in life, there is always beauty to be seen and made.
Landfill Harmonic is a Kickstarter project and they’re still trying to reach their goal. If you find yourself as inspired by this story as I was, definitely give them your support.
The last video I’d like to share in this series is a talk by Janet Echelman. What I love most about this talk is Echelman’s resilience and spirit. After her paintings were lost before an exhibition, she found a way to create something extraordinary, rather than wallow in self-pity. She took an unfortunate situation and a humble material and transformed it into something beautiful.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts as much as I’ve enjoyed putting them together.
For more Ted and Art click here, here, and here 🙂
Oops! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA for a while, but the week after spring break is always the hardest to get back in the groove, don’t you think? To make up for it I’ll be posting two Ted and Art posts today.
First up, is designer Andrew Byron. I must admit I didn’t pay much attention to type at first, but since I started taking design classes I’ve developed a huge appreciation for it. I love the way Byron sees the world in type. He is forever engulfed in creation which I both admire and desire. Enjoy!
The second video I want to share today is not directly related to art or design, but many of his points speak to the importance of design as a tool to help shape a path for action or inaction. I found his comparison of government ads vs commercial ads and his study of magazine layouts extremely interesting.
For more Ted and Art click here and here.
Look carefully. Liza Lou‘s life-sized replicas are made using tiny beads and strings of cotton. It is awe-inspiring to imagine the labor that goes into every one of her works. That’s dedication. That’s love. The kitchen, one of her earlier works, was made entirely by her own two hands. She now works with artisans in South Africa. The process of working in unison with the women in South Africa inspired the “rope” which is meant to signify unity. I find her work to be not only stunning, but truly moving. I imagine the time and dedication that goes into every piece and I want that for my own work. Her love for the craft–for creating–is contagious.
It’s officially spring break for me! I don’t even mind still having to go to work full-time and allergy season kicking in because not having a load of projects due the next week meant I got to ride my bike, drink a cold beer, and visit some new food trucks this past weekend. I didn’t even cook on Sunday! Now that it’s Monday and I’m back at work, I think it’s time to devout the rest of my so-called spring break to develop a strategy. The first half of my first semester back in school was pretty chaotic with a ton of up-all-nighters and way too many mood swings. All the anxiety and last-minute work has been showing not only in my finished projects but in the way I carry myself as well. I need a new plan and a new schedule. I want to have time to do all the work that needs to get done, side projects (drawing lessons please), plus some down time. Besides all that, I am “training” for a 5k coming up soon and falling in love with Tina Fey.
How is life on your end?
The second video for the Art and Ted series is by photographer, Miru Kim. Her work is very different from Aparna Rao’s playful approach last week, but I am equally in love with it. What draws me to Kim’s photographs and her talk is her fearlessness and obvious passion for her subject, which is truly unique and intriguing . Seeing her talk she looks very shy and reserved, but she comes alive in her photographs. In the same way, her choice of location for her photographs (old, abandoned sites) may appear worn down at first glance, but her images revive them. Her work inspires me to put myself out there and explore. Let me know what you think of the talk.
For more information visit her site here.
Ana Zhuravleva’s photographs have me smitten. It’s not just the composition and the colors, but the imagination. My mind can’t help but wonder/wander off and dream. I want to live in the world of these photographs. Don’t you? Most of her photographs seem to belong to some wonderful children’s story book. But besides being light and fantastic, there is also a heavy drama that seems to coexist in the pictures which really intrigues me and makes me revisit the photographs over and over again. What do you think?
All photographs belong to Anka Zhuravleva for more visit her website.
I wanted to share my top 5 Ted talks on art (similar to my top 5 art documentaries last week), but I fear five talks of 10min+ each might be a bit too much for some people to take all in one sitting, sooo… I decided to make it into a series! For the month of March, I’ll be sharing one great talk by one great artist every Friday.
First up is Aparna Rao of Pors&Rao. I’ve watched her talk over five times already, and never tire of it. I am in love with the ingenuity of her work. It’s a mix of art, technology, and engineering with a touch of humor and playfulness. What I am most drawn to is the way she manages to give each of her works its own personality. It is art that’s not meant to simply be viewed but rather, it is art that ecourages people to engage and interact with it. Enjoy!
all images via
David Shrigley’s work never fails to raise the question, “why is this art?” Most of his drawings look like something you would draw in the back of your textbook when you were bored in algebra class. Yet, for some reason, he is one of the artists whose work I can’t stop admiring. I love looking at his work. It’s not just because it’s funny (and it is very funny). There is just something about it that I find strangely compelling. I think it’s because his drawings are very unassuming. There is nothing pretentious or elaborate in his work. It’s just the image and/or text. In this simplicity you start to see all these underlining ideas and emotions and you realize: life is kind of absurd and funny sometimes. I wonder why humor is so often absent in the fine arts.
David Shrigley in one word: refreshing.
Since I’ve become quite a documentary addict, I thought I’d compile a short list of some of my current favorite art documentaries. Each of them tells a story of a different art medium so even though it’s a short list, there is a lot of variation. Let me know what you think of these and if you have any others to recommend, please let me know. I’m always looking for more :).
1. The Pixar Story
First up is animation. I have loved every Pixar movie to date (few movies have made me cry as much as Toy Story 3) so to be able to get a glimpse into the process that goes into creating these films and how it all got started was a real treat. I absolutely love the work environment of Pixar Studios.
Besides being a truly heart-warming story, Wasteland is also a really smart documentary. It brings up so many thought-provoking questions like: what is an artist’s responsibility to his subject(s) and what is the value of modern art? Plus, Vik Muniz’s work and vision is stunning.
3. Exit Through the Gift Shop
Another really smart documentary that poses a lot of difficult questions. This movie strives for a deeper understanding of what makes someone an artist. Is it the work they put out, their vision, popularity? The glimpse into the world of street art is priceless.
This documentary shows all the thought and passion that goes into design. It is both interesting and funny to see how one font can spark up such passionate discussions in the design world.
5. First Position
This documentary is one of the most inspiring ones I’ve seen yet. The kids in this film are so dedicated and passionate about their art. I have a deeper appreciation for the ballet since watching this film.