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Inspired Turns Two!
I feel quite proud to have written something monthly for the past two years. I like writing this newsletter a lot. And I love when you message me about it!
What I like most about writing Inspired is that it makes me understand my art better. Having to explain it inevitably makes me think more about it.
I recently had to describe my style for an artist open call—another submission of mine that wasn’t selected, but that’s a story for another day. Writing about your own work is so hard. It’s like writing your bio. I’ve been tweaking mine forever and I’m still not happy about it!
Writing is hard, full stop. Once in a blue moon this newsletter flows out of me and needs minimum editing. Most times though, and I can tell you this one was one of those, sentences and paragraphs need to be re-arranged, taken out, re-written, tweaked, for everything to make sense. As an art form, it no different from others: creating is a process. I’ve read enough about writers to know that the process is often laborious.
Still, it came as a surprise to me that it would be this difficult. After all I’m not writing a book, this is just a short missive! But I’m trying to make it as interesting as possible. Turns out that takes time.
Speaking of things that take time, I unfortunately don’t have a new illustration to celebrate my two-year milestone. Evidently, summer 2021 was still not ‘back to normal’ and I had more spare time then.
Inspiration from the 1950s
So, I went through my old drawings and found this one, drawn in 2018 and inspired by a photo of Louise Dahl-Wolfe. My style has changed a lot since then! What seems to have stayed is the use of colour, and a propensity to draw people.
I chose this illustration because Dahl-Wolfe’s photography was so beautiful, it’s worth spending some time with.
She was 40 years old when she was hired at Harper's Bazaar by editor-in-chief Carmel Snow, in 1936. It was at Bazaar that she changed fashion photography, alongside fashion editor Diana Vreeland and art director Alexey Brodovitch.
Dahl-Wolfe insisted on correcting her own proofs, tweaking colours to create the exact images she had in mind. This resulted in stunning prints whose subtle hues and unusual gradations in colour set the standard for elegance in the 1940s and 1950s.
She pioneered the active yet sophisticated image of the "New Woman"—I’m a sucker for a story where someone does something innovative after the age of 40—and incorporated art themes into her photographs.
I’ve come to realise that photography is an integral part of my practice as an artist, both taking photos and looking at other people’s. When I take photos, I train my brain to think about composition, and my eye to find what will look the best on an image.
And looking at other people’s photos inspires me for character poses, teaches me about light and shadow, how fabric folds, how to create moods and ambiances, how to tell a story. Another reminder that other people’s art is crucial for mine to exist.