When it comes to artwork that really inspires me, I cannot separate the art from the artist.
I am just as interested in the process as the finished work. I love storytelling in every form; unconventional and weird stuff, mixed medias and formats and ideas, non-traditional and traditional, abstract and narrative. From concept to completion, layers of meaning are always evolving and I love playing a part in it. I’ve noticed these progressions in my own work with performance artists like Beyoncé over the years.
A lyric on a page evolves into music, which then informs visuals and performance and filmmaking, juxtaposing these smaller pieces into a larger whole, adding poetry and multilayered storytelling which then culminates into a larger piece of art. This art is then deconstructed and reimagined over and over again for the ever-evolving live performances injecting new meaning by mixing interactive light and sounds and imagery and audience and improvisation that is unique to that moment, never to be repeated.
Then, aspects of art can then be made into its own independent piece of art with infinite possibilities. By capturing all of these fleeting wild elements and infusing them with ideas of the artist’s growth and process and inspirations and aspirations and reconstructing it into something entirely new. That first lyric has now had many lives and infinite meanings. I mean, come on… how cool is that!?! My latest documentary with Amy Schumer, Expecting Amy, uses that exact same formula, but with wildly different results.
I remember first seeing Matthew Barney’s work when I was a teenager. I was so weirded out and didn’t understand it… but I couldn’t look away. I don’t pretend to fully understand it even now, but I love it so much. He combines performance, moving image, sound, sculpture, and interactivity to convey a narrative. His work is a progression with each element successfully living separately and together, all parts of a greater whole. He utilizes the same common tools we all use in multimedia production but in a way that elevates his art into experiential storytelling. You have to live it.
Michel Gondry is a filmmaker that holds a special place in my heart. He is so clever in using the simplest of tools to make something so intricate and complicated feel effortless and common sense. My favorite film of his is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind which plays a huge part in why my second date with my now husband successfully progressed into a third date and subsequent 16 year relationship. I was obsessed with how Michel took what could have been a very straight forward narrative and blew it up moving backwards and forwards, left and right. It wasn’t flashy or slick, it was beautiful.
I have always found my greatest inspirations from my closest friends and collaborators. Singer and performing artist Virginia Marcs is the best example. I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing performers but Marcs is the only one I have known since the very beginning. Every project we do together becomes a marker of our own growth in our lives. Through working together and parallel, I’ve learned about process, failure, success, and growth. Her exuberant talent has been the best case study of the “ever-changing artist”. It is a subject I love to explore in my work, how life effects art which effects life. Marcs in turn, holds a mirror up to me and I am better able to see my own strengths, my own faults, and my effect on the work itself.