I sat at my desk at the office the other day, working on a project, and for background, on my iPad, I played, “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” an amazing documentary that highlights fashion editors from the famous magazine. It’s a wonderful program not only because of the personal histories it shares, but it gives the viewer a glimpse into the story behind some incredibly iconic images that have peppered the pages of this fashion bible. This, along with other fashion films, is something that inspires me. The creativity of others inspires creativity in me.
I draw ideas and seek the opportunity to look at a particular project from a different point of view. When this came to mind, it made me wonder if others get up in the morning and, in some way – whether reading a book, watching video, or other means – connect with sources of inspiration to help them throughout their day. I’m not referring to inspiration on a spiritual sense per se, though that, I’m sure, could be something that inspires someone throughout the day, or serves as a compass for our behavior.
I think of this question more in terms of public figures, other individuals who have carved a unique space for themselves in recent or distant history, whether great or small. They have used their skills and talents to contribute to a greater social and cultural landscape and, in some way, have brought beauty or intellectual thought or understanding to the public stage. For me, it’s people like Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, and Diana Vreeland that give me insight and inspiration for my work in leading a team that develops the employee magazine for the company I work at (in my day job). It’s looking at famous designers, photographers like Tom Bianchi, and writers like Paul Monette.
I also look to films such as “L’Amour Fou,” “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” and “Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston” as not only anchors of the creative past, but individuals who embody the pursuit and creation of beauty. These works also include stunning photography that encourages me to look at things differently through my own camera’s lens literally, my own mind’s eye figuratively.
I am also inspired by my partner, Richard, who has introduced me to so many things through concerts, performances, theater, travel and art in our 12 years together. He is someone who has challenged my own conventional thinking, and who diligently works to create experiences for us to share, experiences that always turn into special memories that live on long after the moments have passed.
I can be inspired by fragrance, by taking great care to select the right fragrance to wear on any given morning. I may sample two or three until I find just the right one with the subtle nuance that sparks my senses. I can be inspired by a performance, or a song, or a work of art.
It is possible to create beauty with language, with words on the page, too. I am not only inspired by the visual arts – obviously. If that were the case, I would not be nearing the completion of my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree. The pursuit of beauty is discovering something that ignites such extreme passion and obsession in us that we are infinitely fascinated by the topic, that we can dissect it, explore it and pursue it on many levels, both visceral and theoretical.
Unfortunately, I see some who walk through their day uninspired. They look down and avoid contact with others. They want to recreate what has always been to prevent themselves from facing the exhilaration and challenge of changing, of evolving, of becoming, of reinventing oneself, one’s work. They persist in making each day mundane and, in many ways, mediocre. This is an unfortunate state to find oneself, and I know I cannot live like that.
I find that by continually fueling my own actions, my own work, my own creativity with elements and expressions of culture, of tradition, of history, of art, of music, of fashion, of literature and folklore, of information and intellect, I can make each day something special, something unique, an experiment in learning, in loving, and in living my best life. And in doing so, I hope I can, in some small way, encourage others to pursue their passions, to live with inspiration all around them.