Inspiration Monday: Charlie, Francis, Frank and a powerful emotion.

Anomalisa: I love everything Charlie Kauffman touches. Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine, Dangerous Mind, and, most of all, Synecdoche, which I have watched over and over till my BluRay skips. His inventions are endlessly fresh, rule breaking, and, despite the inevitable twinge of melancholy about them, inspiring and life-affirming to me.

This week, he dropped the first trailer for his new film which is a stop animation feature. I can’t wait to see the whole thing.

Chef’s Table: Technically speaking, I didn’t discover this Netflix series this week. I rediscovered it, probably for the eight time. If you come to my house for any length of time, I am going to make you sit on my couch and watch at least east one episode of Chef’s Table. It is sumptuously shot and will make your mouth water. But it’s not really about food. It’s about art, personal expression and demons, breaking rules, discovery, and the non verbal. It’s about art. It will inspire you in the kitchen and in the studio.

Frank Stella at the WhitneyI didn’t love most of this show but parts of it were fantastic. His later sculptures in metal and some of the painted surfaces with wild electric colors that vibrate and hum with fluorescent zest.

IMG_4654The most inspiring part was just being in the Whitney. I have three different museum memberships but this is the one I use. The new Whitney is such a great space, manageably-sized and walking distance from my house. That means I have been here three times in the last month or so. I can revisit the works I like and reconsider the ones I passed over. And best of all, I get access on off-hours when the hordes are still penned outside the member’s entrance.

Museum membership does obvious good things like support the arts but, selfishly, it also means permission and encouragement to see art more often and more deeply.

MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO1S.H.A.M.E.: Apparently this is a common phrase in the recovery world but I encountered it for the first time this week. It stands for Should Have Already Mastered Everything. If you are any sort of perfectionist, you will recognize this cudgel the Monkey uses to flail us.

Shame at not always exceeding expectations. Fear at screwing up. Inability to realize that we aren’t meant to be perfect, but human.

S.H.A.M.E. may not qualify as inspiration, but, if I can affix this label to self-destructive demands and make me see them for what they really are, it will be a useful tool indeed.

What have you read, seen, experienced, or thought of recently that could inspire me and others? Please share your discoveries and help fill my well with inspiration.

13 thoughts on “Inspiration Monday: Charlie, Francis, Frank and a powerful emotion.”

  1. This past week I visited the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. There is the most wonderful exhibit up now of the Sketchbooks of Richard Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn passed in 1993 and his wife Phyllis has kept his sketchbooks in a cardboard box since. In 2014 she gifted the collection to the Cantor. There are 29 sketchbooks on display but you can only see one page in each as they are behind glass. The Cantor digitized all the sketchbooks and you can view them on your computer. I could not get it to work on my tablet, or on Safari but it working fine with Firefox, it was a bit slow but well worth it. Here is the link if you can not make it to the museum. exhibit


  2. I love Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletters that consist of 10 things he thinks are worthy of sharing. They are always time maneagble to read and interesting. This week I enjoyed a quote by C.S. Lewis on How to be original:

    “Even in literature in art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
    -C.S. Lewis

    Austin also listed a brief paragraph on how Einstein used thought experiments to explore his ideas, ending with the Einstein quote, ” Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    The above quote reminded him of Sir Ken Robinson’s amazing TED Talk about creativity titled, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” One of my favorites!!!!

    I can’t wait to see Anomalisa! Thanks for the tip on Chef’s table!


  3. Just opened a new read by Julian Barnes titled Keeping an Open Eye. It is a compilation of essays on art, but not in the way one might expect. It offers seriously researched back stories on pieces of art before going into a very unique way of critiquing the piece itself. Just got it from the library so it is too soon to give a full on book review, but never has a concept of this nature crossed my path before and Barnes is a master of prose! I think you would find it of interest.


  4. I just watched a short film on a plane called “Warhol, Basquiat, and Me”. My favorite part was what Warhol would do when interviewers continuously hounded him about the meaning of his art.
    Danny, you are such an inspiration! I am constantly telling people about you and showing friends your books. Even on Monday morning (it is 6:30 am here), you have flipped the switch in my brain that has made me almost giddy to get up and work on my art. I am so lucky to be a part of this creative world!


  5. Along with your inspiration, I read Urban Sketchers blog and a blog by James Gurney. The USk blog allows me to see real art from all over the world, every single day. Not only do I see different artistic styles, but I get a glimpse of people’s travels/neighborhoods/homes/celebrations/etc. Gurney Journey is a very inspirational blog as well. He offers all sorts of information, from art history to animation to lessons in technique. I have followed this blog for about two years, and Mr. Gurney has posted something every single day. Just that alone inspires me! In fact I learned about Sketchbook Skool from USk, and about USk from James Gurney.


  6. Get High! Get Low! I am often inspired on my daily morning walk by something I see on the ground – a leaf etched with frost, a piece of litter twisted into an unusual shape, the pattern of black tire lines. Sometimes I look up and am inspired by the unusual shape the clouds made by clumping together, the way the trees seem to be reaching up towards the sunlight. Sometimes I am just walking for walking’s sake but I know that when I get to my painting, something is going to work its way into my painting!


  7. “Believing is Seeing” by Mary Anne Staniszewski about creating the culture of art. I found parts of it inspirational and thought provoking; a quick read that can survive perusal to one’s benefit. The “Passionate Fact… Storytelling in Natural History and Cultural Interpretation” by Susan Strauss I am glad I read it. For daily fare: Seth Godin’s blog, Roz Stendhal, anything by Dannny Gregory, Koosje Koene, Urban sketchers,Lynda Barry on tumblr, and Sketchbook Skool Facebook page.


  8. I’m often inspired by music, and this morning I’m also inspired by the musician’s story of finally being comfortable in his own skin after many ups and lots of recent downs, and making new music on his terms. Not unlike the monkey you talk about, Danny, he’s singing about those Demons we all have.


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