If I had to choose one artist who inspires me most, it would be Andy Goldsworthy. I first experienced his work during a trip to the National Gallery. The sculpture, titled Roof, had recently been installed and was displayed with accompanying photos of his in situ sculptures created at a nearby rock query. Goldsworthy chose to work from the same query that provided the materials to build The White House, the Capital, and other national monuments. Roof, as you can see, is a repetition of domes that mimics the National Gallery's dome. This structure has deep historical roots that date well before Thomas Jefferson, reaching all the way back to the Pantheon in Rome.
But, it wasn't Roof that actually inspired me, per say. No offense Mr. Goldsworthy. It's a lovely sculpture, and it did peek my curiosity in the artist. So, I researched him on the internet when I returned home. The internet as it works now is a wonderful thing. I hope we don't lose our rights to it with the passing of SOPA and PIPA. If you aren't worried about this, you should be.
Anyway, it was Goldsworthy's other works where I found inspiration. You see, he goes out into nature and creates sculptures made from natural materials, often working against the elements and against time to build something transient and fleeting. He documents his works through photography and then allows nature to reclaim them. Here is a photo montage of some of his breathtaking sculptures.
Goldsworthy describes his own work in this way:
"At its most successful, my "touch" looks into the heart of nature, most days I don't even get close. These things are all part of a transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient; only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process become complete."
How did Goldswothy inspire me, in particular? Well, his film Rivers and Tides motivated me to begin studying the environmental arts movement. I went on to add a double major of studio art onto my creative writing undergraduate work. Whenever I was told I had to choose one discipline or the other for my graduate studies, I would think of Mr. Goldsworthy, who practiced what he was passionate about without conforming to preconceived notions, and I was again inspired to work in that vein.
I had many friends and colleagues, like Andi Lea, who were seeking progressive interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary education, so I chose to seek out and research these programs. I completed my interdisciplinary masters working in three disciplines; creative writing, studio art, and environmental studies. My graduate project was a multi media installation using found and recycled objects and all eco-friendly supplies. It was accompanied by a contextual thesis that addressed our connections to and disconnections from nature and, specifically, the animal kingdom. So, thank you Mr. Goldsworthy for the all the inspiration you have given me.
Here's a little taste of Rivers and Tides. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend it!