Anish Kapoor is an acclaimed British sculptor with roots in India. He was born in India, but has lived in England for many a decades. His works include bright medleys of deeply pigmented colors. The colors are audacious and daring. He uses reds, yellows, burnt oranges, royal blues, maroons. Such colors are deeply rooted in the culture and fabric of his birthplace, India. It is obvious that he was inspired by his roots.
But, his works also include gigantic stark, bold, curved and metallic forms; almost industrial and space-age in nature. These sculptures are a significant departure from his colored works. Such works are indicative of a shift, an evolution, a progression and an expansion in his work.
I have been discussing inspiration at length in my prior blogs and want to make a shift. I do not want to discuss the “standard application” of inspiration for example from a magazine, website or even a book. True, one can get inspired from anything and everything. The creator of Chanel nail varnishes was inspired by the color on a grocery store bag for creating the Mimosa colored nail vernis (yellow). So, when it comes to inspiration anything and everything can be inspiring as long as you have an open mind.
Part of our inspiration comes from our roots. The place of our birth has a genetic predisposition on our thoughts and behavior. That is why you see Anish Kapoor using deeply pigmented mounds of color in his sculptures. The colors and the actual forms of the mounds are deep rooted in the traditions of India. During the festival of colors called Holi, the Indian bazaars are littered with a psychedelic array of optical colors. The bright blues, fuchsias, reds, oranges, yellows are meant to be besmeared on friends and loved ones in joy and celebration (no, it is not barbaric or offensive, but simply pure fun!)
In addition, the spice markets in India are cluttered with heaps of various shades of red hot chili powder, bright yellow turmeric powder and an array of colors. Anish’s sculptures are very reminiscent of the Holi festival and the colorful spice bazaars of India. He was inspired by his roots.
Well that is all very well and good. But, he just did not stop there. He evolved. He did not stagnate. His took his art form not just a notch higher, but did a paradigm shift by creating industrial looking sculptures. In fact, he recently designed espresso cups for my favorite brand of coffee, Illy. As you will note, there is no semblance of color or of Indian origin in the cup. He released his roots, evolved and made an illusory cup for Illy.
In fashion, art or literature, I have often seen a repetition. The original work is unique and inspired. But subsequently there is a repetition. That is why we see some designers repeating their designs season after season, authors writing books on basically the same story line, a sort of déjà vu, if you will. Painters following the same theme, work after work. Directors directing the same plots movie after movie (no pun intended Hangover 2!) Ironically, if the product becomes commercially successful, the chances of evolution are even less likely as nobody wants to forego a true and tried formula for success.
The point is stagnation leads to decay. Especially in creative fields, evolution leads to new ideas. You simply cannot churn out the same old idea and package it with new marketing. Anish is an example of true creativity as he eschewed inspirational roots for evolution.
In my photo, there is a whiff of my colorful roots of India, but I too eschewed my roots by wearing Church’s men’s oxfords with it. It is a step towards evolution and up-rooting.
Inspiration is an idea. Inspiration is a vision. Inspiration is a revelation. Inspiration is creative genius. We are all inspired by something or the other when it comes to expression of our personal style. We use our inspiration and adapt it to our personal sensitivity and perception. However, at times we inhibit ourselves from fully expressing our core personality due to multiple reasons. It could be because we have an image to uphold; shyness; societal pressures; past experiences or just because we have never done it before and do not want to set any precedence.
Uninhibited expression is liberating! That is what makes us truly unique!
I want to provide this forum as an opportunity to my readers to express themselves freely. A forum where you can have absolute creative freedom with no inhibitions or restrictions, even if it lasts for one blog entry. I requested one of my very favorite bloggers and my dear sensitive friend Jamillah to adapt one of her inspirations to her personal style sans inhibitions and restrictions. Thank you Jamillah for putting so much thought and effort into the blog. You have dared to shed your inhibitions and taken a beautiful step towards uninhibited expression. Enjoy!
Hello friends of Ambuji, my name is Jamillah and I blog over at made-to-travel. I am thrilled to be guest posting on Ambu’s blog and really was inspired (and flattered!) by her request.
When it comes to personal style we all make our own boundaries whether due to our professions or a persona we want to embody or the fear of a certain kind of attention or the want of a certain kind of attention…for whatever reason we stop ourselves from being something else.
But that does not keep us from being inspired by something or wishing for something more. Ambu’s challenge to me was to choose a piece of art that inspires something in me that is not articulated in my personal style and try to personify it.
Not an easy task, but the first piece of art that came to mind was Egon Schiele’s Kneeling Girl in Orange-Red Dress (1910).
Egon Schiele was born in 1890 in the Austrian village Tulln on the Danube. His father was a station agent in the railways and after his death Schiele was sent to live with his maternal uncle. Once his uncle saw Schiele had a proclivity to art and no interest in traditional academics he had Schiele apply to Kunstgewerbeschule (the School of Arts and Crafts) in Vienna in 1906. Then at the insistence of his professors at the School of Arts and Crafts Schiele was sent to the more traditional Akademie der Bildenden Künste to study painting and drawing.
But this new setting frustrated Schiele, he did not take to the conservative ways of the Academy so he sought out Gustav Klimt. Klimt was known to generously mentor and take in young artist and after meeting Schiele he took a special interest to him and his talents.
Schiele left the Academy and began to explore not just the human form but also its sexuality. His work was often called grotesque, deemed pornography, and labeled disturbing.
Sadly, Egon Schiele died young in 1918, a victim of the Spanish Flu epidemic at the age of 28. Schiele was able to experience acceptance and success in his art before his early passing; read more on Egon Schiele here.
Schiele’s work is amazing to me. His nudes are incredibly graphic and human but also surreal. There is something incredibly raw and strong and sexy in his work which is what made me choose him and what made me select Kneeling Girl in Orange-Red Dress.
So I should tell you a bit about myself. My blog, made-to-travel is really a joyful space. I blog on my ethical fashion finds, my personal style and random happiness I find. In my real life and blogsphere I am a positive person, a happy person, easily excited and warm, and really I LOVE it. Those qualities are lovely and I would not change ANY of that.
But these qualities I think influence my style and how my style is perceived. I’m often called cute and pretty and while those are great things to be I am so inspired by this raw, edgy, provocative work of Schiele’s because I think I wish I would incorporate more of that edge and feeling into my persona and style.
I want to feel sexy and raw and be provocative. And thanks to Ambu I get to express that.
Ok, admittedly maybe not the most obviously sexy or provocative dress but that’s not how the Kneeling Girl in Orange-Red Dress projects sexuality and that is not how I believe Schiele depicts it in his work (yes, I am referring to the nudes too).
I believe it is much more human than showing skin and so much deeper than nudity…it is that look in the eyes of Schiele’s subjects that make me think desire. That human look of being coy and being raw and mischievous with intent.
If I am completely honest I have to say what holds me back from keeping that look in my eyes lies in confidence and also being a bit specific in the kind of attention I want to attract.
I come from a family that didn’t talk about appearance much. I was really raised to be academic, kind and strong and now I think I manage my appearance to not distract from those qualities. And I am happy with that too, I really do enjoy my style and I’m sure it’s bound to evolve and change so maybe one day I’ll be more dark and sexy but right now I’m happy with being warm and pretty.
Thank you so much dear friend Ambu, for allowing me to express myself in this way. It’s actually been a real treat and a telling and valuable exercise for me.
The tagline for made-to-travel is , “look for joy…always” and really that’s my wish for all of you.