One of the wonderful things about art is how it can be informed and inspired by just about any other art form. Great pieces of writing exist about paintings or pieces of music, but you don’t have to stop there. No matter what your subject matter is, I believe your story can benefit from being steeped in the experience of another art form. I’m inspired to write on a daily basis by watching good movies, listening to music, or even admiring cleverly composed advertisements. I’d like to share a few very strange, very different bits and pieces of art I’ve been inspired or charmed by around the web.
First I want to share this fantastic video with you. It’s a commercial, true, but I won’t spoil for what. It’s a remarkable personification of something we often take for granted, but it makes us look at a certain force in our lives in a completely new way. You can sneer at the fact that it’s a commercial all you want; I admire things that make me look at the world in a fresh light, no matter what form they come in.
After the jump: more artworks to get you writing.
This website is, again, a little difficult to explain, but I find myself returning to it every now and then, fascinated. Basically, readers send in photos of album covers that have faces on them — and the readers hold the albums so that it looks like their own heads. It can be weird, funny, and usually surprisingly skillful an art of posing, dress, and body posture. I feel inspired by it, because inevitably I start getting curious about what the anonymous figures look like who are holding album covers in front of their faces. Who are these people? Are they smiling behind the covers? What are they thinking? It makes me wonder every time.
3. The Great Dictator
If you haven’t seen this classic film of Charlie Chaplin’s yet, it’s definitely worth a watch. Like most of his movies, this one is almost entirely silent until the triumphant final moments, when our main character — mistaken as the Hitler-like dictator of a fascist, anti-Semitic regime — chooses to speak out against the atrocities he has witnessed. This speech is brave, eloquent, and nearly moves me to tears every time. More than anything, it reminds me to value the individual — and that, ultimately, is an idea that is at the heart of everything I create.
4. The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, by Delaroche
The lady is a real woman executed during the Elizabethan era because of the threat her bloodline represented to the throne. The priest escorts her blindfolded to the chopping block. Her ladies in waiting lament in the background. The lady, ever obliging, reaches down blindly to find her place. The executioner watches. It is a stunningly composed scene, one that is rich with psychological complexity and detail. There is a whole story, or even an entire novel, in this tableau — and it gets me thinking about character and what stories I want to tell every time.
I’ll finish my eclectic mix of art forms with a song that always makes me think. I love folk songs, and Ochs is a favorite of mine for his thoughtful, passionate lyrics. This song in particularly always moves me. He challenges the gung-ho jingoism of war mentalities, and refuses to let anyone shrug off their share of the blame for the mass death of war. He’s not ranting, though; he’s asking, tenderly, poignantly, why things are the way they are. If you want a song that makes you think, check out this link for a listen, and be sure to buy the song if you like it.
This is a ragged bunch of art forms that have little in common, but many writers probably have similar lists lurking somewhere in their brains of things that get them itching to write. What will get you inspired? Sometimes all it takes is a trip to a museum or a stroll through an online database of artworks to get you ready to write again.