I’ve been getting creatively inspired a lot lately. I already talked about going to hear the Peter Plagens lecture at the Frist and how creatively inspiring that was, but then on Thursday night we went to the Société Anonyme show at the Frist with Brad and Jed, and Brad spent a good chunk of time explaining why “Tu m’” was, as he put it, the Rosetta Stone of modern art. So I listened and I looked hard at it, and I saw it. And I kept coming back to it as I circled the exhibit. I’d look at other pieces, the Mondrians and the Miros, and then I’d make my way back in front of the Duchamp piece that did begin to feel like the punchline to the whole show.

All day Friday, I kept thinking back to that piece. I’d be working on the budget at work, and I’d think about the genius of using a tool to say I don’t want to use this tool anymore. And I’d think about the shadows from the bottle brush, and how much there is going on in just that part of the work alone, not even to mention the rest of the composition.

I’m not a painter or any other kind of visual artist; I’m a writer. And lyrics are my primary medium. But looking at visual art can inspire me in ways music doesn’t reach. (I bet Randy at Ethos totally gets what I mean here.) It’s like rewiring my brain; all the lights seem brighter and the circuits seem faster. And I see dimensions of things I’d been blind to.

Whether that translates into more and better songwriting, I have yet to see. I’m writing here and there, but nothing yet has screamed epiphany. But even if it’s not about that, even if the net effect is just to reset my powers of observation and make me live a little more in the moment, hey, that’s powerful stuff, I’ll take it.

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Cross-medium inspiration

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