A couple of weeks ago I spent a rainy Sunday cleaning out
clutter—one of my least favorite things to do, but something I am always
infinitely grateful for when it's complete. I cleaned out bookshelves, closets,
storage bins, and shelves full of the many things I've amassed over the years
and felt light as a feather, organizationally speaking, when I was finished.
|Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Academy Award
portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in this 1956 film
adaptation of Irving Stone's
novel Lust for Life.
I did notice as I was decluttering that almost nothing
art-related hit the trash bin. That's probably because I am constantly in need
of reference material, and I want to make sure I have everything I might need
when the muse strikes. As I organized and resituated my surroundings, I took
stock of a few of my favorite things that keep the artistic inspiration
ART BOOKS: I have
a variety of art books on my shelf, but some of my favorites include a book of
Russian portraiture (imported from China) that has more than 200 full-page
reproductions of both well-known and obscure Russian artists; and The Impressionists at Home (Thames and
Hudson, New York, New York), which features interior paintings from some of my
favorite Impressionists and early modernists (including Degas, Vuillard, and
Bonnard), as well several black-and-white photos of the artists in their
studios and homes.
ART MOVIES: I
collect movies on DVD, and the "art" movies are really starting to pile up—The Agony and the Ecstasy, Lust for Life, Portrait of Jennie, Girl With
a Pearl Earring, Modigliani, and Caravaggio are some of my favorites. (Midnight in Paris is right up there too,
even though it's not entirely about art.)
||This book published by Thames & Hudson with text
Pamela Todd features interior scenes from such
artists as Manet,
Pissaro, Degas, Vuillard, Bonnard.
: My musical
taste ranges from classical to contemporary dance, hitting just about
everything in between, but when I'm writing I love to listen to Bach, Rachmaninoff,
or Beethoven. One of my favorite CDs that I listen to on repeat when I'm
writing is Joshua Bell's Voice of the
, which contains lots of my classical favorites played by one of the
today's most accomplished violinists.
WRITING: As I
writer, the only thing taking up more space than art books on my bookshelf is
literature, poetry, and novels. In addition to classic literature, I also
really enjoy reading art philosophy and works by contemporary art critics. A
publication sitting at the top of my art-magazine pile right now is New York Magazine's "How to Make It in
the Art World" issue, which has some
very interesting ideas about the changes taking place in the modern art market.
What are a few of your favorite things around your studio
that keep you inspired? Leave a comment, and let me know!
Allison Malafronte is
the senior editor of American Artist.