I spend a lot of time reading, writing, listening to podcasts and audiobooks. When I’m in the studio, podcasts and audiobooks are my go-to because I can listen while working.
On my commute this week, I listened to a book about creativity by a professor in the Architecture department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She presented some interesting ideas about how creativity develops and how we engage in creative work
Chapter 6, ‘Perceiving and Conceiving’ was especially interesting as I examine the importance of drawing as a foundation for other work. It’s a critical skill that I believe is useful for everyone, not just artists.
The first day in a new place is always exciting and a bit anxiety inducing. I like to get familiar with a city by learning the public transportation, i.e. getting lost on the train. By that measure, my first day in Tokyo was a success! I managed to get lost but I also learned a couple of ways to get from my home base to points of interest.
The first day is also important for me to observe myself observing the culture…meta. Everything is new that first day and because I am usually pretty quick to adapt, I don’t get do-overs for experiencing things for the first time. For instance, I had an ‘aha’ moment when I noticed that the steering wheel is on the right side of the car in Tokyo. I started to think about the implications of this, like the proper side to walk on a sidewalk. I’m sure these things are connected. By the way, you’re supposed to walk on the left side of the sidewalk.
Transitioning into a new city also means seeing art. It’s my safe place. So I visited the National Museum of Modern Art, which was beautiful and they had lots of great works on display. There was a special exhibition by German artist, Thomas Ruff, on display but I opted not to see it because it cost ¥1,600 (which is about $15 USD).
After checking out the museum, I had lunch in the restaurant. I don’t typically have meals at museums because it tends to be expensive. This place was no different. What was different was the quality, flavor and presentation of the food. Absolutely impeccable. In my experience, you usually sacrifice one of those three things. It was a set menu and there were several courses, each more delicious than the last. My only complaint is that the portions were small.
I believe in the idea of art being in everything, especially in the mundane, and everyday things. I wonder what are the quality of life implications for creating artistic experiences in things like food presentation. This idea is not new, as evidenced by the number of fancy restaurants in the world. But I don’t think these experiences should be reserved for people who are able to spend a lot of money for them. Art is in everything and should be appreciated and enjoyed by all people.
Speaking of food and perfection, you should see the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. You will have an appreciation for the idea of creating in an ‘everyday’ context.
São Paulo, Brazil—Denise Milan is a multidisciplinary artist from Brazil whose work has been exhibited internationally. She graciously agreed to meet with me in her São Paulo studio to talk about her creative process and her evolution as an artist.
Here is a snippet from our conversation:
MG: How has your work evolved since you started and now?
DM: Well, in the beginning, I was more naive, eh? It was drawing the sunset, little ducks. It didn’t have a real connection or it didn’t have a message. But I felt I could interpret some things and I enjoyed making art because that gave me a sense of concentrating in another way towards whatever I was interested in that moment and that in a way kind of separated me from the day to day life. Sure I loved the day to day life, but I also loved to dive inside penetrating my own curiosity.
I had to be picky about selecting materials for my ‘traveling studio’. The sole criterion was low-maintenance. It was a tough decision and I’m not even sure what I’ll create with these things, but here’s what I brought: