Tag Archives: Inspiration

october: yellow, anderson and family

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”-Anne Shirley

I recently posted my “fall moodboard” which focused on three movies released between 1965-1970. But I realized that that really only applies to September. Returning to school. Air changing. The Breaking Out of the Trench Coat.

October is a different story. Culturally, the beginning changes have already happened (I say culturally because in Georgia is was both 75 and 55 last week). October is aware of its identity as a fall month, while September sometimes attempts to hold on to the last grasps of summer.

In October, my inspiration is Wes Anderson. I am convinced that the man lives in a perpetual October. I actually think there are more yellow/orange skies in Anderson films than blue ones.

I told my brother today that I love the “underrated overrated folks.” My favorite baseball player is Ryan Howard of the Phillies, whose payroll is too high, admittedly, and he strikes out a lot. So people call him overrated, but I think he is wonderful and that calling him overrated looks at only one aspect of his baseball playing skills. He’s also a team leader and a great first baseman.

Another example is John Singer Sargent, my favorite painter. I love the idea that he was marginalized by his peers because he wasn’t on the surface an avant-garde painter. He appeared to be a traditional commissioned portraitist, but later examining of his art, outside the context of the Gilded Age, Sargent reveals a keen knowledge of art history and sardonic awareness of the constructs of high society life.

I feel like Wes Anderson is my “underrated overrated” director. His films are just so quirky that they seem to either be immediately beloved or immediately hated for being so beloved without any qualifications. But I honestly love him, without an ulterior motive to align myself with either the quirky hipster set, or the erudite anti-hipster set, or any set annoyed by any other set. Somehow Rushmore, The Royal Tenebaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve ZissouThe Darjeeling Limited and The Fantastic Mr. Fox are all October for me. So sure of their identities and having an awareness of their place in the world.

One thing about Wes Anderson’s characters that work so well for inspiration is that they all have uniforms. Just in the case of The Royal Tenebaums, Margo has her kohl lined eyes, fur coat, barrettes, and polo dresses, Richie, his tennis sweat bands and suits, and Chaz and his sons have their matching sweat suits.

october: margo tenenbaum

Anderson movies sort of uniforms too. Distant wives/sisters/mothers, over bearing father figures, misunderstood youths. all centering around the family. Anderson prioritizes the family and somehow contradicts the first lines of Madame Bovary by making all of his families unhappy in the same way, where they are disconnected from each other, yet don’t have identities that are not Tenenbaum, Zissou, Whitman or Fox. Maybe I love him because I feel like my largest identity marker is that of my family. A friend in high school once said “Kearneys travel in packs.” And it is so true. My family is very close and very disconnected as the same time. No member of my immediate family is just their familial role to me, there are other layers of that relationship. Though I imagine that it is true is all families. But, like Anderson’s families, we are aware of it.

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Two Reviews

The King’s Speech

It is odd that I’ve had this interest in the visual for so long and just in the past year I have added a major and switched career paths. The King’ s Speech was a bizarre culmination of my interests.

The film is clearly focused on language. The Duke of York, later King George V, can’t speak without stammering and that’s basically what gets the plot moving. He meets a speech therapist, Duke is as incorrigible as Logue, the speech therapist. Helena Bonham Carter is fabulous as the Queen Mother (though I guess she is the Duchess of York for most of the movie). The entire thing is riveting and wonderful.

But my favorite part of the movie was the set design, costuming and cinematography. For a great summation, as well as images, check out one of my favorite blogs’ review of it, A Bloomsbury Life. That blog is an absolutely phenomenal. Some how, every post is inspiring and I literally end of saving half the images on my hard drive, just so I can scroll through them quickly.

As far as the movie itself, Colin Firth was amazing. If he doesn’t when the Oscar, well I might lose all faith in the Academy. I never once felt his portrayal was forced. I loved the subtlety of his acting. He briefly mentions in a confessional like discussion with Logue that he was knobbed knees as a child. Later, without pomp or notice, as the King gets frustrated and sits down, Firth silently reverts the King’s knees back to turning in.

Geoffrey Rush was also wonderful, as was Helena Bonham Carter and I would pin her as Best Supporting Actress if not for…

The Fighter

…Amy Adams in this movie. It is the story of two brothers who are both boxers, and starts as one brother, Christian Bale as Dicky Ecklund, is hitting rock bottom and the other, Mark Wahlberg as MickyWard, is getting a shot as the big time. Amy Adams plays Charlene, who is Micky Ward’s love interest.

Adams’ role could’ve been so simple and so bland, but she really creates a dynamic. Initially Charlene seems like she is the way out for Micky, a way to escape his family that is holding him back. But the entire time Charlene is kind of a bitch, fighting with Micky’s sisters and speaking for him. But we want to like Amy Adams’ character because Micky loves her, and as her role balances between good/bad it breaks down the dichotomy for all the characters. If Charlene can’t be simply good or bad, then neither can Ecklund, with his destructive crack addiction, or Ward and Ecklund’s overbearing mother.

For a movie about two brothers, the two women hold the entire film together. Melissa Leo as the brothers’ mother is also wonderful. However, Best Supporting Actress loves ingénues, so I really think Amy Adams will finally be walking  away with the Oscar.

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new internet/life pastime: retronauting which leads to an art history discourse

Most of my internet life is spent doing one of two things: actively facebooking or passively waiting for my facebook to reload. I am trying to kick this habit, like a lot of my friends. But I don’t think I could do internet cold turkey like I used to do my myspace days because I rely so much on the internet to a. communicate with my college b. get information from my college c. do research for college [and my pet side projects]. The internet is a big part of the college education! Especially at a school where we have an AMAZING Digital Design Fellow, Shannon, who helps students understand how to use the internet to their advantage in their education and completely inspires me to keep blogging [and happens to be my lovely boss!]

So I’m now on the look out of more life-enriching internet hobbies. I like Runner’s World because I almost always go running afterwards. And if you’ve read “The Goals”, you know that oee of my long-term goals is to run a marathon and Runner’s has great blogs by runners who are in the process of training.

I used to like Etsy a lot for the inspiration, but now that I have a somewhat disposable work-study income, I try to steer away from anything that smells of online shopping.

Well, How to be a Retronaut appeals to my need to be both motivated and inspired. It is basically a super, disorganized and wonderful encyclopedia of photographs, film, music, design, with the goal of rethinking what is iconic of and associated a certain period. Maybe this appeals more to my art history side. But it is lovely and inspiring none the less.

One that I adored was “The summer of 1910 caught in a delicate colour...” focusing on the autochromes of Etheldreda Laing of her two daughters Iris and Janet. Maybe because I’ve obsessively watched A Room with a View five times in five days but I love their clothes and the art in these images. I would love to see a resurgence of autochromes but apparently [according to Wikipedia] there has been interest in it, but people have had trouble recreating the unique additive technique on the glass plates that were used.

I just love the painterly quality to the images. This one is by far my favorite because Janet and Iris look about the same age as my younger sister and me now and it such a tender moment of sisterly love, along with parental love because I feel like the viewer can tell that Laing cared deeply for her subjects, contrasting to my favorite John Singer Sargent painting,

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, John Singer Sargent, image from Wikipedia

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, where the girls are so distant and disengaged from the viewer, each looking like she has some secret and something better to do.

Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, image from Wikipedia

Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, image from Wikipedia, click through for larger picture

“Daughters” in turn is often compared to “Las Meninas” by Velazquez. So much so, that the Sargent is going to the Prado until mid-May 2010 to hang next to its predecessor. Which reminds me how much I want to go to Spain to just stare at Velazquezs and Goyas for hours. I personally like the Sargent more, though I do really love Velazquez, simply because Sargent creates this world of isolation for the girls but the painting at first glance is four sisters in a room, not the strained, yearning place that Sargent depicts. And while Sargent uses subject matter to create ambiguity, Velazquez uses visual trickery, with his imposing canvas and self portrait and mirror that reflects where the viewer is standing as the subject of picture Velazquez’s painting, the king and queen of Spain. Somehow, I feel using the subject to exemplify its own ambiguity is more sincere than Velazquez technique, though his is no less impressive.

Still GOAL OF POST. Check out How to be a Retronaut, or look for your own inspiring websites! Explore the internet outside of JSTOR for school and Facebook for avoiding school.

Other posts I found inspiring:

Vivid colour pictures of London’s Peace Day, 19th July 1919… [first image just replaced “Daughters” as my background image

Beautiful colour shots of the streets of Dublin 50 years ago…

64 exquisite colour miniatures of Cornwall, August 1913… [Can I be invited to your next party, people in first photo?]

Haunting colour pictures of England before the First World War…

10 pictures conjuring the past from thin air…

Most of the posts that piqued my interest were the ones about the World Wars in England and the times immediately before and after. Maybe because my perception of the time then is so romanticized by films. I don’t know if it is just me, but these high resolution pictures are jarring because so many of the pictures look different from today’s film that is hard to imagine the world looking that way, even if I can tell myself over and over that they saw with the clarity that I do. A bit of an existential photo crises on my part as I view them.

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