When I was younger, like 11 or 12, my Aunt Gracie told me that I talk too much and that I should listen more. Obviously, I didn’t listen and continued to keep talking. But there was a lesson in there that I only realized as I got older: observe and take in your surroundings. Or, as I later heard, (thank you Aunt Gracie), “be like a sponge”. The more you take in, the bigger you get. So, I do or at least try to do just that. Here are some things that I have taken in lately that I have been inspirational in my life, to some extent.
1. I heard this podcast not long ago from WNYC’s Soundcheck (great program by the way if you don’t listen, it’s all about music.) The title is A Forgotten Album Rediscovered and tells the story of two brothers from Nowheresville, Washington and an album they made in 1978 when they were 16 or 17 years old in their cabin, in a recording studio that their Dad built for them (he’s was a lumberjack of some sorts, to boot). Just think of the time before home computers, YouTube and the Internet for those of you young enough not to remember a time before the WWW. It was a huge deal to record an album. And the barrier for entry was pretty steep so it was a big deal to have a Dad that built shit. Well, they record an album — made only 1,000 copies, and it quickly went into obscurity.
Anyway, I don’t want to give any more away as it really is a great story about passion, dedication, perseverance, your first love and just plain ‘ol dumb luck. I’ve attached a URL, below, to the podcast. When your done, Google the album and look at the cover of Dreamin’ Wild by Donnie & Joe Emerson. It’s hysterical. If you are interested in getting the album (I did, it’s actually quite good throughout, you can buy and download it here and find the podcast here.
2. While looking for imagery for a client presentation, I stumbled upon this recent work from the photographer Tadeo Cern. Such a strange idea, to photograph people when shot with 180mph wind in their faces. The results are incredible. All art is an experiment in some regards but this has almost a scientific experiment quality to it as well. Love it. Find it here.
3. Speaking of scientific, I can’t help but be still captured and amazed by the imagery coming from the Mars rover, Curiosity. I go to NASA’s website every week or so just to see what new pictures from Mars have been sent back. It’s MARS! Like, Mars. SPACE! If you can’t be inspired in some sense by it, you must be, well, from Mars I guess. Find it here.
4. Street art and street musicians are a constant source of inspiration here in New York (and I’m sure where you are all well). Here are some projects that I love and am so happy they exist. Find it here at Street Musicians.
On that note, Street Art. I’m sure our Chicago brethren have seen this but some people put up a Monopoly game on the streets of Logan Square — very cool. Check it out here.
By the way, subscribe to Flavorwire if you haven’t already. I get a lot of my inspiration for things that have come up on their feed and you can sign up here.
5. Inspiration number five most of the time, should probably be number one: music. Music is an ever-present part of my life and truly a constant source of inspiration. Recordings, performance, additional artistic representations of song, whatever. It’s where I start when I am feeling uninspired and usually where I wind up during my own creative development. Here are some random things that I think are worth looking at:
1. Reggie Watts, a musician and comedian based out of Brooklyn, at a recent TED talks conference. If you don’t know him, he’s great. His shows are very impressive and are always changing from night to night. I highly recommend checking more of him out but here and here are a start.
2. Björk Biophila. It’s easy to say you love Bjork or you hate Björk (I’m somewhere in the middle), either way, it’s undeniable how creative she is both personally and collaboratively. She consistently pushes and expands the idea of what music is and what fine art are, and the intersection of the two is where her music, at least to me, sits. Her most recent project was called Biophilia and is based on constellations and space. It’s music, Internet, apps, digital, and art installation all in one. It was inspired, oddly enough, by the iPad and most of the music was originally created on an iPad. I had the pleasure of seeing her in concert recently where she had a real-life Tesla coils on stage as part of her percussion. In place of live instruments, she had an Icelandic choir creating beats and sounds with their voices that was truly amazing to hear and see. The album itself is a digital tour de force with the booklet being a digital science class of a solar system of music. CRAZ-EE. Find it here.
3. Band of Horses – great band. Better band live. Saw this show a couple years ago in Grand Central Terminal as part of an AOL concert series they were doing when they re-branded themselves. Find it here.
6. My fingers are tired so this is where I am going to stop. Check out this very cool Tilt Shift video that I came across by an Australian-based artist/video guy named Keith Louitt. He does some very cool work. I’m trying to figure out a way to work with him. Oh, which by the way, is a great thing to do. Like somebody’s work? Get in touch with them, tell them, and see if you can work on something together. Seems overly simple but it works. Check it out here.
OH!!! One last thing: share what you like with people. I hope something from the above list inspires you or just interests you. If you think I’ll like something that you like, send it. You know where to reach me.
Have a nice day. Go ignite.
-Vito Zarrillo, group creative director, gyro New York