March 3 and 8: Uninspired

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Ahoy, ahoy!

So I have a terrible dilemma.  I have been completely, and totally uninspired to write this blog for an entire week!  I owe you guys entries for last Thursday and this Tuesday, and of course I owe you one for today.  However, I am going to hold off on today’s blog because I am dedicating this blog (which accounts for two days) to trying to find some inspiration.  I’ll try to hit you all with an awesome, insightful and relevant entry this weekend about today’s class but for now, I’m going to discuss inspiration.

The concept of inspiration can be applied to almost any goal or situation anyone has.  You need inspiration for an amazing essay, inspiration to win the big game, inspiration to create a work.  I need (and lack) inspiration for this blog.  Maybe it’s the March blues…it’s too early for it to be the “ides of March” as we have all been warned about through Shakespeare’s writ.  However, regardless of what the inspiration is for, the concept of inspiration is that you are aiming to achieve something great, something even better than usual.  It’s about putting out your best work, and ultimately, a representation of your best self for all to see.

To me, inspiration cannot be forced, but you can certainly help yourself along.  I am not an artist, but I live with one.  Each project she decides to ultimately create comes from hours of thinking, not-thinking, overthinking….until eventually something clicks.  Maybe she sees a photograph she loves of one of her friends and absolutely has to paint the face.  Another time, I know she was absentmindedly unraveling a thread and that’s when genius struck.  Sometimes the idea works, other times she hates it and it’s back to square one.  I feel that this happens often in all disciplines.  After all, Oscar Wilde was the one who said “I spent the entire morning inserting a comma; I spent the whole afternoon removing it again.”

Inspiration strikes, only to be whisked away again.  The worst is when inspiration occurs in the middle of the night.  You jolt upwards, wide awake at 3:38 am or some ridiculous time such as that, smiling.  You’ve awoken and had a marvelous idea.  The creative process is over!  Content you drift back to sleep….you awake at 7 am to your alarm.  You know you had thought of something, now if you could only remember what it was….

Looking for inspiration is an ongoing quest I feel that every human being experiences in their life.  Whether they are consciously always awaiting it, unconsciously stumbling upon it, channeling it only when needed….we all experience a need or want or flash of inspiration at some point.  And what a wonderful feeling it is.  One of my best moments of inspiration actually came from an incredibly explicit song.  For an energetic group of 19 to 21 year old girls, this song was hilarious in it’s explicitness.  I think we liked it mostly because of how obscene the lyrics were, to the point where the whole thing had become a joke.  And then, one day in the library, while talking about how easy it was in the modern age to find out someone’s entire life story on the Internet, inspiration took hold in my mind.  Instead of doing my homework, I instead chose to pen a parody of this explicit song’s lyrics, but have it talk about the phenomenon known as “Facebook creeping”. I was done the lyrics in half an hour and it was amazing.  I showed my friends who knew the original lyrics and everyone agreed that these new lyrics were even better than the old ones.  The whole thing was very Weird Al Yankovic, and for whatever reason I was absurdly proud of my lyrics and of course, posted them on Facebook.  Unfortunately, I don’t have my own parody video but my brother and I absolutely loved Weird Al when we were younger, so here it my own personal fave from him, “Eat It” inspired by the King of Pop’s “Beat It”.

Now how’s that for parody art?!

That’s all for now!  I promise I’ll have something new and interesting this weekend about today’s class!



October 12: The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson

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Ahoy ahoy!  Time to talk about the Group and T-squared!

“Drumroll, please.”

This was the joke Gemey made when it came to speaking about the Group in class yesterday.  And we all laughed.  Indeed, for most people, the Group is to Canadian art what milk is to cereal.  It’s all the first thing they think of! While consequently missing out on considering other things, like, oh cereal with marshmellows, baked as a treat or cereal incorporated into Mom’s homemade bits and bites.  There are other things to be had in Canadian art, besides the Group, just like cereal can be used for things besides just a quick breakfast with milk.

I digress.  So, for all you non-Group-groupies out there here is a quick overview of all of them:

J.E.H. MacDonald, the silver fox.

Franklin Carmichael, the ankle-biter of the bunch.

Frank Johnston, blink and you’d miss his prescence

Arthur Lismer, the influential philanthropist

Frederick Varley, the plucky portrait painter

Lawren Harris, the rich playboy.

A.Y. Jackson, the stranger who came to town.

Also, the artist Tom Thompson was heavily associated with the Group, though he died a mysterious death in 1917, 3 years before the group was formed, and they often included his work in their shows.  So now that I’ve set the stage for a good HBO show with all of these different personalities, it is interesting to think that so often, people will just know “Group of Seven” and not the actual names of the artists who were a part of the group!  Even further, the Group underwent numerous revisions to their lineup, people came and went.  Frank Johnston, for instance, was really only officially a part of the group for one year!  But I have decided to list the original members for you in hopes that the interesting descriptions I’ve applied to them will encourage you to seek out more information about them.

Group of Seven has come to be an iconic symbol in Canadian culture.  People who don’t even know what a painting by a Group member looks like will know WHO they are, which is actually pretty crazy!  That’s some pretty high-status celebrity right there!  I know this was a short post, but trust me, there is going to be so much more Group info coming your way very soon!

Also, when googling “Group of Seven”, I found this Canadian indie band called Group of Seven!  They have some cute songs.  This one is called Tahiti Treat:

Thats all!