A few weeks ago in a post titled Inspiration and Experience I wrote about my viewpoint as a designer as a unique culmination of life's experiences. Writing that post has made me--probably temporarily--more acutely aware of what I look for my daily inspirational 'feed'. In other words, I have become more self-aware of what I look at, talk about, read, experience and absorb for future reference. I know this will fade into the background again, but it's winter, I'm inside a lot and have the time to reflect.
I am first and foremost a designer. My current design discipline is landscape design. I have in the past worked in others. I didn't come to landscape design from a desire to create gardens, but from a desire to design three dimensional living spaces that compelled human interaction and enhanced and respected the environment. Sure, I've been a lifelong gardener and find incredible beauty in plants, but that has never been the departure point for my inspiration.
So, what do I look and where do I go to fuel the creative fire? It's a daily feast of input that swings wildly between subjects--some of which I'm going to explore here and in future posts. I try not to question the process too much and always try and stay open and observant. I am a voracious reader and looker. Even a few seconds spent looking is absorbed in some way. Years ago as a fashion jewelry designer, I found visual inspiration while driving to my studio in Brooklyn in a pattern of diagonal wires on a construction site--those patterns became the basis of a series of pieces while the time spent looking at the original wires was as fast as I was driving by them.
Some of the constant influences have been images from television and old movies - black and white and technicolor. Not just those with fabulous fantasy landscape images in them-like the Wizard of Oz, but others that jog my visual sensibility in some way. Just yesterday I watched an old (and awful) Doris Day move - 'Move Over Darling'. In one scene Day was wearing an acid green ensemble and running up the stairs against a grey background. Add that to Michelle Obama's choice of an acid green Isabel Toledo outfit for the inaugural, and the choice of Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' as the 2009 Perennial Plant of the year and pop goes the inspiration weasel.
Wow! Would I like to use that combo in a garden. In the movies it's retro, in a garden- modern, provocative and fresh.