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Vol. 16 - The Inspo Issue
take a shot every time I use the word 'inspiration'
Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope everyone is doing well. I’m not going to lie; I’ve been really struggling with this week’s newsletter. I think this is a reflection of how the last few weeks have been for me. I’ve been lacking in motivation and inspiration. I’ve had a lot of weird things go wrong. I thought I had my skin under control, but it seems to have come back with a vengeance in the last week. It’s also just a weird time of year where spring is on the horizon, but we’re still shaking off the last of the winter blues (and weather). Overall, I feel like I’ve lost a bit of the spark that I’m used to having, and it’s seeping into all other parts of my life, including this newsletter. I feel like I can be transparent with this community, and whilst I don’t like to dwell on the negative, it would be entirely dishonest to pretend that I don’t have moments where life gets to me. This isn’t going to be the best issue I’ve put out, but I still think it’s important to turn up in some form, which is what I’m attempting to do here. Instead of writing any old shit for the sake of it, I thought, when you’re lacking in inspiration, what better than to revisit all of the things in life that have, and do, inspire you? This is mainly for me, but also for anyone who feels like they’re in the same lacklustre limbo. It’s Wednesday as I write this intro, and I’m still unsure how this format will develop as currently, it’s a mess of links, images, and subheadings, so I look forward to seeing how future me organises this. Anyway, with that, let’s begin…
I think inspiration is funny because it can come from literally anywhere, and it can strike at different levels. Some inspiration is shallow and materialistic. Some can be physical, mental and emotional. It can be profound and moving, and entirely surprising. You never know when it will strike or how it will take hold of you. Personally, I think all sources of inspiration sit on the same level. I don’t believe one form of inspiration is more valuable than another just because of its source. Whatever moves you to do something is important, so who cares where it came from? As someone who considers themself ‘aesthetic’ and driven by beautiful things that I find visually pleasing, something as simple as an image of a perfectly white t-shirt paired with the right shade of blue jeans can inspire me. Admittedly, this is on the more shallow side of inspiration, but I’m not going to shy away from that at all because these things still drive me, and that’s what’s important. At the end of the day, all of us have seen something material that we wish we could have, and that’s inspired us to do something differently, so don’t pretend you’re entirely immune to a photo of a handbag or a car, or a piece of art (or whatever floats your boat). Now, because I spend more time than ever online and I consume SO much media, it seems fitting to start by talking about accounts that I love and that push me to want to create or try something new. This list revolves around those who deliver a quick dopamine hit, where simply looking at scrolling sparks something in my brain. A lot of these people are visually inspiring for me, and I think there’s something to be said for people who can curate a ‘look’ that people aspire to. I think a lot of people assume it’s easy to do, but that’s a credit to those who are doing it because you can only make something look easy when you’re great at doing it. A recent discovery for me is Alex Rivière-Sieber.
Alex owns a company that provides fashion brands with creative direction, content and digital marketing, so it makes sense that she has the visual aesthetic down. Her feed isn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary, nor is it wildly original. Still, there’s something about her clean, understated style and mix of fashion and lifestyle on both her feed and stories that appeals to me. I’m not going to think about it too much; she just scratches an aesthetic itch in my brain. It would also be wrong not to mention Matilda Djerf, and it sounds weird, but aside from the obvious reasons why I like her account, I also love that she’s short because often when it comes to style on Instagram, we tend to be bombarded with very tall, thin women who can wear anything and look great. I recently met Noorie Ana at a brand event. Aside from her looking slick and gorgeously put together in person, her page is a constant source of inspiration for A) how to be a better creator and B) visual storytelling. The time and effort she and her fiance put into the content on her page is unbelievable, and her branded content looks better than most professional adverts.
Another person I met recently is Shini Park. We ran into each other at my local coffee shop, and months later, we were sat next to each other at a brand lunch. She is a wonderfully funny, witty and engaging woman and the founder of a digital visual arts book called Cubicle. Her eye and her style are impeccable. When it comes to accounts that aren’t about a single person, I love Somewhere I Would Like To Live for their beautiful curation of interiors (and exteriors) from around the world and Type 7, which is a daily magazine run by Porsche.
When I think about the things that inspire me, whether it’s people, films, music, food, art, photography, etc., I’ve noticed that the running theme is storytelling. Stories are SO powerful and such a driving force behind everything that I do. Of course, my favourite medium for storytelling is film. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to film stills to refer to whenever I need that spark of inspiration. Wong Kar-wai and Park Chan-wook are two of my favourites because they place the same emphasis when it comes to the visual and verbal aspects of storytelling in their films. You could take a screenshot during any point of their films and have a whole story told within that one still.
Another obvious mention has to go to Wes Anderson. Yes, his distinctive visual style is magical and impressive and arguably the most memorable part of his films. Still, the stories he weaves and the depth of his *mostly* shallow characters (an oxymoron, I know) provide me with endless inspiration when I write my own content. Whether you like Wes or not, the way he sucks you into his fictional world and manages to suspend reality for two hours is undeniable. Who else…?
Denis Villeneuve for his ability to make you believe in something bigger and better than yourself. Christopher Nolan for making you question your reality (and, at times, yourself). Greta Gerwig for her nostalgia and cutting dialogue. Nora Ephron for the pure magic of her writing. I had a conversation in November with a friend of mine at a Christmas party that I found rather alarming because, essentially, they admitted to me that they’d never been moved by a film in their life. They had never been inspired, motivated, saddened, heartbroken, or any of the other one million things that you could feel whilst watching a film. Whilst this information knocked me for six, I considered what else drove my friend to do what they did every day. What drove their decisions? What guided their choices? What brought them joy when they needed it most?
I guess I pose the same questions to all of you reading. Do you ever consider the things that move/inspire/motivate you? Are they books? Songs? People? Art? Simply a feeling you get on a certain day when the sun is shining, and everything feels right? I wonder how social media has shaped all of the above. Do younger generations just look to others online as their sole source of inspiration? When we have access to so many people from all corners of the globe, it can become easy to aspire to what we see and be inspired by what we see, choosing to emulate someone else’s life and their interests instead of finding our own. Even though we have never been more connected to the rest of the world and can access everything at our fingertips, is this counterproductive to inspiration? Almost like visiting a restaurant with too many choices on the menu that ends up overwhelming you. I can’t decide whether the digital world will help or hinder us in the years to come.
Moving towards the physical, architecture and art are two important categories to discuss in this issue. I love the National Portrait Gallery. For absolutely no particular reason, I love Renaissance art - the paintings, the sculptures, the architecture. When we travel, my favourite part is visiting the museums and galleries. Last year I was lucky enough to visit the Borghese Gallery in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence. Whilst I appreciate that these things can be boring for some, for me, it’s like recharging my battery. There’s something magical about being surrounded by art that has stood the test of time over hundreds of years and has been seen by millions of people. I think about the time spent creating these works by another person who lived long before me, who would never know the impact it would have on me, a complete stranger, years after they were gone. I worry that we will begin to lose the awe-inspiring physical works of art as time goes on and things become more digital. When was the last time you were in the presence of something physical that impacted you? Is this something we take for granted? How often do you look up and take in the things around you? Have you ever really noticed the buildings around you that you overlook every day? Their small details? The height? The people behind the windows? When I’m out and about, I’m very guilty of either being A) in my own head, listening to music or a podcast, or B) being on my phone. I love that physical art forces you to stop and look in every direction to take it all in.
One of my favourite boards to add to on Pinterest is my ‘interiors’ one. I love to pore over beautiful interiors and interesting designs. As someone who is very home-focused and prioritises cosiness (just reminding you all for the umpteenth time that I am, in fact, a Taurus), I think a beautiful space is conducive to being inspired. Henry introduced me to The Modern House, an online estate agency that focuses on design-led houses, and it’s a website I find myself scrolling through just for visual inspo. The same goes for Architectural Digest and the interior section of Dezeen. We are currently in the process of replacing our furniture with forever pieces that we hope will stand the test of time design-wise whilst still being true to our style and our taste. Our homes should be a safe space. It’s where we rest, where we’re vulnerable, where we connect, where we make memories, and where we should be able to escape when it all gets a bit much. So many important things take place there, which is why I think it’s important to take time and care to make it somewhere that fosters inspiration.
At this point in the newsletter, it’s been two days since I wrote and organised the above. There are so many different things I could continue to talk about and explore, but for some reason, I’m facing writer’s block when discussing these things. Whilst I want to write freely and openly and to spill my inner monologue on this page, it can feel very personal to delve into the things that drive my choices and give me (for the lack of a better word) ‘reason’. Maybe these things can’t necessarily be put into words. Instead, I will leave you with a selection of links and images that will say more than I currently can. Enjoy.
Human Stories Told By This American Life - A Magical 3 Minute Masterclass in Editing in the form of a Youtube video called the ‘Watchtower of Turkey’ - A Documentary on The Power Of Music and Memory Called ‘Alive Inside’
Before Sunrise - Richard Linklater - The Intouchables - Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano - The Sea Inside - Alejandro Amenábar - Soul - Pete Docter Everything Everywhere All At Once - Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Tamsin & Rhubarb