Points of Inspiration
A Personal Journal of Artists and other Creative Sources By: Mark Painter Pariani
50 Artists Who Influence My Work
Coheed & Cambria
Frank Lloyd Wright Herzog & de Meuron
Ansel Adams Catherine Opie
George Lucas Hayao Miyazaki
30 Seconds To Mars The Beatles
John Augustus Roebling
Frederick Law Olmsted Louis Kahn
Bernd and Hilla Becher Lewis W. Hine
Led Zeppelin Angels & Airwaves Prince
Bernard Tschumi Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Filippo Brunelleschi Andrea Palladio Donato Bramante
Ole Kirk Christiansen
Hiromu Arakawa Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird
Nathan Sawaya Andy Goldsworthy
J.K. Rowling Stan Lee
Kasimir Malevich Francisco Goya
Christian Frederick Martin
Jerry Scott/Jim Borgman Bryan Lee Oâ€™Malley
Santiago Calatrava Frank Lloyd Wright Herzog & de Meuron John Augustus Roebling Frederick Law Olmsted Louis Kahn Bernard Tschumi Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Filippo Brunelleschi Andrea Palladio Donato Bramante
Santiago Calatrava Spain, 1951 Being both an architect and an engineer, Calatrava seamlessly blends beauty, function, and practicality with his designs. Each of his buildings are unique, yet because of Calatravaâ€™s distinct style they become unmistakable and instantly recognizable. Pulling inspiration from the skeletal systems of birds, Calatrava is able to create a structural elegance within his designs. By doing so he makes architecture the sculptural art form that it should be. Architecture is one of the greatest art forms in existence today because it is in essence a public sculpture piece that can be experienced as well as appreciated by all. I strive to keep architecture this sculptural art form with my designs and Calatravaâ€™s work will always inspire me towards that goal.
TGV Station - Lyon, France
Frank Lloyd Wright United States, 1867 - 1959 Wright is possibly the most famous architect in the world. His designs have redefined how the world looks and experiences the built environment. His Wasmuth Portfolio took Europe by storm and inspired several young architects to come to America and study his work. This architectural migration led into one of the most important eras of architecture ever - the modern era. In his later years Wright began to pick up on this emerging modern style and ended up designing one of my all time favorite buildings, the Guggenheim Museum. Itâ€™s one thing to view architecture in a photo but itâ€™s a completely different experience altogether to actually visit a building. This is most true with the Guggenheim Museum for it is one of the most photographed and well known buildings in the world. Most people will only see it as a photograph but I was lucky enough to visit it and the interior space is truly inspiring. The museum itself actually distracted me from the artwork on display and I became much more interested in the graceful flow of the space.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - New York City, USA
Herzog & de Meuron Switzerland, 1978 Quite a few practicing architects work in pairs and in my opinion these partnerships lead to far more dynamic structures. Herzog & de Meuron were one of the first pair of architects I took an interest in. They have been practicing for some time now but only just recently stepped into the international spotlight when they designed the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. This stadium pushes the limits of what a standard stadium looks like and what it needs to function. Its structure is a series of bending and intertwining steel girders. This exposed structural system creates several different geometries, a trait that passes over to one of their American projects. A project that I was lucky enough to visit in Miami - a parking garage. But not just any parking garage, the world’s coolest parking garage! It is very open to the surrounding environment and creates great areas for stores within the actual parking space, something almost unheard of. Even the circulation is accented with triangulated spiral staircases, a strong geometry I find myself using quite often.
1111 Lincoln Road Parking Garage - Miami, USA - (MPP)
John Augustus Roebling Prussia, 1806 - 1869 For as long as I can remember I have always been enraptured with bridges. I love viewing them, walking/driving over them, and walking/driving/exploring the spaces that are created beneath them. With that being said my artist journal would not be complete without a nod to John Roebling, the designer of the world famous Brooklyn Bridge. World famous is actually putting it lightly because this bridge is in fact the most photographed, illustrated, painted, and written about bridge in the entire world. You could say it is THE MOST famous bridge in the whole world. I know I am a fan for sure. I have even given a speech as well as arranged a small guided tour for close relatives of the bridge. Iâ€™m something of a small expert on it. The reasons I love it so much could take up a whole journal entry in itself, but one of the main reasons is that you can walk over the bridge on foot on an elevated wooden plank path. This path is in the center of the bridge and is high over the traffic making you forget about the cars buzzing by. An experience that is rare on a bridge and even more rare in New York City. It is also free to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which is the greatest part because I believe that great public architecture should be free to the general public whenever possible. The Brooklyn Bridge is a gift to all who visit the city of New York.
Brooklyn Bridge - New York City, USA
Frederick Law Olmsted United States, 1822 - 1903 When talking about architecture the subtle and often overlooked art of landscape architecture needs to be recognized as well and the undisputed master of this art is Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted was the designer for the world famous Central Park in New York City and is a place I have visited every time I have gone to New York. I have been fortunate enough to visit quite a few times over the past recent years since my sister lives there now and every time I go I make sure to visit the park. On one particular trip I spent the entire day in the park and ended up exploring every main part of it, something much easier said than done because it is gigantic. Olmsted fought hard to make sure the park became a reality and his hard work paid off in full. Central Park is one of the few green spaces in New York City and is by far the most grand and most important. While visiting the park you will forget that you are in a city at all. The air quality is better and even the sound of the city dies away. It is nothing short of spiritual and inspiring. Thousands of people go there everyday to enjoy the precious and fragile nature that is preserved there, and if I lived there I would too.
Central Park - New York City, USA
Louis Kahn Russian Empire, 1901 - 1974
Phillips Exeter Academy Library - New Hampshire, USA
Some architects are very prolific and produce several well designed buildings throughout their career. Just take Frank Lloyd Wright for example, he worked on over 400 projects and some that were never even built. But on the other hand some architects instead only produce a few projects in their lifetime. Such is the case with Louis Kahn, but it is important to know that each of Kahnâ€™s relatively few projects is a masterwork in itself. I have never had the pleasure of visiting one of his buildings but they are constantly featured in books and films. He was an architect that had a certain style that can be recognized but that does not diminish his work. In most of his projects he utilizes very simple geometry but applies it in monumental ways. Take the Exeter Library for example. The atrium you see is essentially a large cube but the portals showing the book stacks are circular. This use of a circle within a square has a certain spiritual resonance to it and this spirituality shows up in all of his masterworks. This delicate and simple use of form has been very influential in my work.
Bernard Tschumi Switzerland, 1944 Being an architecture student I am constantly asked to do what are called â€œcase studiesâ€? as school work. A case study is essentially a small report on the design, functionality, and practicality of one particular building. One case study that I did that really got my attention was on the New Acropolis Museum by a Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. What caught my eye initially was that the museum actually stands on the remains of ancient Greek ruins. I had never heard of a museum that not only houses ancient artifacts but also hovers over an archeological site. A lot of work went into the planning for the building because each support had to be strategically located so as not to disturb the ruins below. The museum also has a beautiful upper gallery space that uses natural light to the fullest extent and all the visitors can view the actual acropolis and the Parthenon from within the gallery. It is this sense of extensive planning in structural elements, use of light, and orientation for views that makes Bernard Tschumi a well known architect. His work is great for any serious architect to look at and learn from.
New Acropolis Museum - Athens, Greece
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Germany, 1886 - 1969 Most architects have a style but only a select few are able to start an entire era of design that uses their style. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of those select few architects. He is credited as being one the main architects who started the modernist movement in architecture, one of the most important design eras of our time. He is famous for saying such lines as “Less is more,” and “God is in the details.” These quotes are apparent in his work because his designs make use of extreme clarity and simplicity. He made great use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. Throughout his career he worked towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order that was balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. These aspects of van der Rohe’s style are the main design points of any modern building and there is something very spiritual about his work. His simplicity and use of materials has been very influential on not only my work but the work of several architects and artists.
German Pavilion - Barcelona, Spain (1929 International Exposition)
Filippo Brunelleschi Italy, 1377 - 1446 Some architects have so much talent that their own time has no idea of what to do with them. It is these architects who become instrumental in inventing new technology and design strategies and thus further the field of architecture and art. Filippo Brunelleschi is one of these architects. His genius in the field of architecture was well before his time and this became a problem when he was trying to secure commissions. He would have to prove himself time and time again because people of his time simply did not believe that what he proposed could be done. He is credited with the design and construction of the dome that stands on top of the cathedral of Florence. Before Brunelleschi came along the church was unfinished because the technology to complete the opening over the transept had not even been invented yet. This did not stop Brunelleschi and after he won the commission he not only designed a magnificent dome, he invented several tools and methods for its construction. Brunellechiâ€™s work ethic mixed in with his astounding natural talent is very inspiring to my work.
Santa Maria del Fiore - Florence, Italy - (MPP)
Andrea Palladio Italy, 1508 - 1580 In the words of David Gobel, professor of art and architectural history at SCAD, “Andrea Palladio is the most influential architect to ever have walked this earth.” This is actually not far from the truth. What makes his work so influential is not only his progressive style for his time but the fact that he published his work and theories. Several other architects who are considered to be influential are also published such as Le Corbusier with his “Toward an Architecture” where he describes his five points of architecture and Vitruvius with his multi-volume work entitled “On Architecture.” When Palladio published his “Four Books of Architecture” it gained him international fame and still does to this day. In his published works he outlined an architectural movement which took its name from him, Palladian architecture. This style celebrates the purity and simplicity of classical architecture and its popularity spread as far as North America. Thomas Jefferson was a keen admirer of Palladio and once referred to his book as "the Bible". Monticello and the University of Virginia were both heavily influenced by Palladio’s style and the study of classical traditions is important for any rising architect.
Teatro Olimpico - Vicenza, Italy - (MPP)
Donato Bramante Italy, 1444 - 1514 Donato Bramante was an Italian architect, who introduced the Early Renaissance style to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome, where his most famous design is St. Peter's Basilica. Beyond this Bramante is famous for several other classically inspired buildings all throughout Italy. One of which is the Tempietto or “Little Temple” in Rome in the courtyard of St. Peter’s on the Mountain. The funny thing about this structure is that it has little architectonic use. Even so it is a perfect synthesis of classical style in that it represents an ancient Greek temple. It is only 16 feet in diameter and has an architrave resting on a circle of Doric columns. Doric was the most pure order of columns that the Greeks designed and it is used quite gracefully here. It is also perfectly proportioned and symmetrical in every way. After it was completed it quickly became the standard that other classically inspired buildings were measured off of. Andrea Palladio (featured on previous page) greatly admired this building. Its location within a square courtyard is also a very powerful statement and it is easy to see why Bramante will always be an important figure to study.
Il Tempietto - Rome, Italy - (MPP)
Julius Shulman Ansel Adams Catherine Opie Edward Steichen Bernd and Hilla Becher Lewis W. Hine
Julius Shulman United States, 1910 - 2009 I did not know about Julius Shulman until I saw the movie “Visual Acoustics” during my junior year of college. The interesting thing is that I studied his images in almost every architectural history class I’ve ever taken but he was never credited in our text books. Even so Shulman is perhaps the greatest architectural photographer of all time. His most famous images are of houses in Southern California that were part of the modernist movement, but he has captured architecture all over the world. His life's work is now stored at the Getty archive in California and is one of the most requested archives on record. In the movie the narrator says that “Architects live and die by the photos that are taken of their buildings.” I love this statement because I’m studying both architecture and photography and I overlap the two whenever I can. The reason I enjoy his work so much is because he uses one point perspective in almost every shot. I use the same compositional tool in most of my artwork and I am very attracted to taking photos with the same style. There is something very appealing and pure about it. “Case Study House No. 22” - Silver-Gelatin Print
Ansel Adams United States, 1902 - 1984 Ansel Adams is perhaps one of the most widely known photographers ever. He is best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park. The art of photographing landscapes is a very subtle one and Ansel Adams was the undisputed master of this art. With Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs and the work of those to whom he taught the system. Adams primarily used largeformat cameras despite their size, weight, setup time, and film cost, because their high resolution helped ensure sharpness in his images. It is this passion that Adams had for his work and the willingness he had to go the extra mile to get exactly the right image that has been so influential to my own work, whether it be architecture or photography. I first discovered his work when my father brought home a collection of his images in a book. Adams pictures stand out as defining images of the American West and he is important for any photographer to look at.
â€œRoad, Nevada Desertâ€? - Silver-Gelatin Print
Catherine Opie United States, 1961 Catherine Opie is an American photographer specializing in issues within documentary photography. Throughout her work she has investigated aspects of community, making portraits of many groups including surfers and most recently high school football players. She is also interested in how identities are shaped by our surrounding architecture. It is this interest in architecture that first caught my eye. I actually discovered Catherine Opie’s work in the Guggenheim Museum in New York (featured earlier). She had two shows up at the same time. One was of larger than life portraits and the other was of much smaller prints of American freeways and highway bridges. It was the second show that intrigued me more because it was much more friendly and intimate, while the portraiture show was in your face and almost rude. Also the way in which Opie photographed the subject of bridges was very elegant. Instead of just presenting the bridge as a structure she ventured into places that celebrated the graceful geometry of these massive structures. For my Black & White class I also shot highway bridges and Opie’s work was the main influence for this artistic choice.
“Untitled #40” - Platinum print
Edward Steichen Luxembourg, 1879 - 1973 Edward Steichen was an American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator. His work has been published all over the world and at one time he was even recognized as the most famous and most highly paid photographer in the world. I first discovered his work when I took a History of Photography class in my third year of college. The example piece you see, the photo of the flatiron building in New York City, immediately spoke to me. It was one of Steichen’s early photos and the reason I find it so fascinating is because of the emotion and feeling it gives off. Unlike most standard photographs of architecture that just try to document the structure for publication purposes, this photo makes the viewer feel a certain emotion and elevates it into the realm of art. This emotion will be different depending on the viewer but I believe that is what makes it such a powerful image. Being a photographer who focuses on architecture this images is very inspiring and I try to achieve this level of emotion in my images.
“The Flatiron” - Gum Bichromate over Platinum Print
Bernd and Hilla Becher Germany, 1931 - 2007 / 1934 The Bechers first collaborated on photographing and documenting the disappearing German industrial architecture in 1959. They were fascinated by the similar shapes in which certain buildings were designed. In addition, they were intrigued by the fact that so many of these industrial buildings seemed to have been built with a great deal of attention toward design. Their style is quite unlike Edward Steichen (featured on the previous page) for their collections have no intention of giving off a certain emotion. Rather they worked toward preserving certain examples of industrial architecture and through their use of uniform composition create a dialogue between the different examples thus opening the floor for comparisons and contrasts. This style of shooting is quite important to the field of architecture because most of these structures have been demolished and the only way we can study them anymore is through photography. The massive archive the Bechers created is a very useful tool for my work.
â€œStudy of Concrete Cooling Towersâ€? - Nine Silver-Gelatin Prints
Lewis W. Hine United States, 1874 - 1940 Lewis Hine was an American sociologist and photographer. He specialized in photojournalism and is famous for the documentation of several industrial working conditions. He is especially famous for documenting the construction of the Empire State Building. During the construction Hine photographed the workers in precarious positions while they secured the iron and steel framework of the structure, taking many of the same risks the workers endured. In order to obtain the best vantage points, Hine was swung out in a specially designed basket 1,000 feet above Fifth Avenue. Hine is also famous for using his camera as a tool for social reform and his photographs for the National Child Labor Committee were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States. In some senses Hine is a hero for the common working man and his images celebrate and honor the tough working situations these men and children had to suffer. He used his craft for the benefit of mankind and I strive to do the same with my craft.
â€œLunch Breakâ€? - Silver-Gelatin Print
Peter Jackson George Lucas Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Edgar Wright
Peter Jackson New Zealand, 1961 For as long as I can remember I have always loved movies. I love going to see them in big theaters as well as enjoying them with friends and family in the comfort of my own home. I even considered studying film in college and the one movie trilogy that inspired me to pick up my first camera was “The Lord of the Rings.” It is, in a word, epic - in multiple words, a rousing and beautiful tale of courage, friendship, and good vs. evil. The movie would be nothing without the literary masterpiece that is “The Lord of the Rings,” but the movie would not be a cinematic masterpiece without the talent of Peter Jackson. His ability to seamlessly blend special effects with quality storytelling is what makes this movie trilogy so influential. The story demanded to be treated with respect and Jackson realized this from the start. His intention was to only compliment the story with visual effects, never hinder it, and he does so beautifully. This treatment of the story is very influential in my work because I often tell stories through my work. I am also constantly inspired by this trilogy and I make an effort to watch it at least once a year.
“The Lord of the Rings” - Motion Picture in 3 Parts
George Lucas United States, 1944 If there is another movie trilogy that has been as influential to my work as “The Lord of the Rings,” it would have to be “Star Wars.” Slightly before my time but so defining of a generation it was inevitable that I would see it one day. That day just happened to be when I was 6 years old. I immediately became a “Star Wars” junkie. I would watch the old VHS tapes over and over again (sadly a technology that has become obsolete just like 8 track tapes). I watched them so much that I almost wore the tapes out. The director, George Lucas, invented several new special effect techniques that are still being used and are still fascinating to me. The most amazing effect is that all the space ships in the movie are miniature models that had to have so much detail in order to look real. When I learned this fact and saw some behind the scenes footage I gained a greater respect for the art of movie-making. I try to instill this attention to detail in my work whether it be architectural models, drawings, or even setting up photographic compositions.
“Star Wars” - Motion Picture in 6 Parts
Hayao Miyazaki Japan, 1941 To start this entry off I have to make a confession - I have a small but powerful obsession with Asian culture. This obsession shows through in what movies and shows I like to watch and what graphic novels I tend to read more. This obsession was only stepped up further when I discovered Hayao Miyazaki. I first heard his name in 2002 when he won the Best Animated Feature Oscar for his movie “Spirited Away.” This movie was the first anime, or Japanese animated feature to win an Oscar, and so far it’s the only non-English speaking animation to win. I was hooked after that moment and have since made a great effort to see all of his movies and read his graphic novels. One of my favorites is “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.” It is a courageous story about overcoming great obstacles in order to unite people from different walks of life and raise environmental awareness. Miyazaki’s work may not be influential on my design work but it speaks heavily to my spirit and how I life my life. Most of his work deals with environmental issues and I believe that our purpose is to be the caretakers of the earth and we should act as such.
“Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” - Animated Motion Picture
Christopher Nolan England, 1970 I first heard of Christopher Nolan when just about everyone else did - when “The Dark Knight” first came to theaters. One of the all time biggest box office hits since “Titanic.” I had already seen “Batman Begins,” but I did not pay attention to who directed it nor did I really consider Nolan to be a great director until I saw his movie “Inception.” This movie struck a chord with me, especially since it deals with architectural design and one of my all time favorite artists, M.C. Escher (featured later). There are not many movies that deal directly with architectural design and this one has a fascinating take on it - the architecture of dreams. The characters actually construct the landscape of dreams, a very unique concept. Since most of the movie takes place inside a dream the possibilities for special effects are endless, but this is where Nolan shows his skills as a master director. Instead of doing everything with computer animation Nolan uses physical props and elaborate sets in order to create surreal settings and events. Seeing the construction of these sets and then experiencing the final result is most impressive. Since the effects are all really happening on camera it looks real. It is this attention to detail that again inspires my work.
“Inception” - Motion Picture
Edgar Wright England, 1974 Most movies I enjoy either have an epic and inspiring story or incorporate impressive special effects. Some are just fun to watch. The movie “Hot Fuzz” is just that - fun. The director, Edgar Wright, takes a mundane story about a top notch city cop who gets transferred to the boring country side because he was making the other cops “look bad.” But once he gets to the country side he finds a huge conspiracy cover up and through a series of intense action scenes he busts the case wide open and saves the day. Besides the funny banter between the characters, the movie is also visually fun through the sly use of camera angles, quick pans, zooms, and tilts and fancy editing techniques. Through this editing the movie takes the simple shot and makes it look most epic. A simple shot of someone riding a bicycle becomes fascinating when it uses a quick zoom on the wheel and a quick pan to the riders face as he comes to a sudden stop. A boring shot of someone getting something out of their locker becomes bold when it uses a quick zoom and even quicker cut shot. It is this type of editing that I find interesting and I try to use it when I’m making my own movies (one of my many hobbies).
“Hot Fuzz” - Motion Picture
Coheed & Cambria 30 Seconds To Mars The Beatles Eric Clapton Led Zeppelin Angels & Airwaves Prince
Coheed & Cambria United States, 1995 So I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11 years old and there have been many musicians and bands who have influenced my music, but none as much as Coheed & Cambria. They are constantly in the top most played on my iTunes and I never seem to grow bored of them. I have all of their albums and have followed them over many years. The interesting thing is that they sing about things that normally I would not be very keen to listen to but their level of talent with creating music is matched only by a few bands. Their composition within their songs follows the standard structure of songs but they are able to elevate their sound into something unique. Although the band members have changed over the years each member (past and present) has full mastery of their instrument. Especially the lead singer and guitarist, Claudio Sanchez. He is able to play some of the most complicated guitar scores while singing, which is no easy task. Also, all of their albums tell a story and each song feeds off the last instead of just being a bunch of songs lumped together. In this way each album becomes a work of art.
“Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV” - Music Album
30 Seconds to Mars United States, 1998 This band is still relatively new to me but they have still been a big influence. The main reason I started to follow this band is because of their music videos. I saw some of them on the internet and immediately became a fan. The reason their videos are so powerful is because they all tell a story and none of them are purely focused on the lead singer. I really dislike music videos that only focus on the lead singer because usually they don’t play an instrument and I feel the real talent in a band are the actual musicians. 30 Seconds to Mars is one of those bands where each member plays an instrument and is one of the main reasons I listen to them as much as I do. I highly respect bands that do this. Just about anyone can be handed a mic and sing but it takes years of practice and an equal amount of talent to be able to play an instrument and it’s not fair when singers get all the credit. So, besides being a good band and having interesting music videos, 30 Seconds to Mars also tell stories through their albums. Each albums becomes an interconnected story and this raises the construction of an album to an art form.
“This is War” - Music Album
The Beatles England, 1960 - 1970 What can be truly said about The Beatles? That they are the most influential band to ever walk this earth? Well, yeah! I grew up listening to The Beatles and I have confidence that I will continue to listen to them well into the future. They were really the first “pop” band ever and had a big hand in making music popular for a generation and all future generations. If you play guitar it is safe to say that you can play at least one Beatles songs and as for me I know quite a few. Their early work has simple song structure, which makes for addictive music. Their later and individual work has many levels of structure and complex backgrounds, which makes for fascinating music. The Beatles are also one of those few bands who have transcended beyond just music and have influenced the very foundations of popular culture. It’s hard to go through a regular day without seeing a Beatles bumper sticker or Beatles T-shirt. Their impact goes so far that they have become immortalized and their image will continue to shape future artists. There have already been several movies and even theatrical performances dedicated to their work. Who knows what the future will hold.
“Abbey Road” - Music Album
Eric Clapton England, 1945 The guitar is one of those instruments that is easy to pick up and learn a few easy songs, but it takes years upon years to master. One of the few true masters of the guitar is the one and only Eric Clapton. Some say that he is the greatest living guitarist and it’s true! Some guitarists who came before have been immortalized in death and their talent cannot be tested, but Clapton, even in old age, continues to push the limits of what is possible with a guitar and constantly inspires young artists. In his early years Clapton played with many different bands such as The Yardbirds and Derek & The Dominos and became a highly sought after artist. It soon became evident though that his talent could not be restrained to one band and he started his very successful solo career. One of his most influential aspects is that when playing live he never plays a song the same way twice. He is constantly coming up with different variations of his music so even if you are able to see him play live multiple times it will never be the same show. This takes true talent and inspires me to constantly think creatively and come up with new ways of presenting my work. “Eric Clapton Poster” - Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
Led Zeppelin England, 1968 - 1980
“Stairway to Heaven” - Music Album
Now I know I have talked about influential bands and musicians up to this point, but the band with the most influential song ever written is hands down Led Zeppelin. Their song “Stairway To Heaven” is one of the most played and most famous songs ever. Its soft melody is hypnotic and captures the listener’s attention from the start. It then leads into a steady drum beat and the listener realizes that this song is building into something far more dynamic than the average song. The beat then drops and gradually leads into a rockin’ guitar solo and the sound becomes euphoric. The song still holds prestige today but if someone where to listen to it back when it first came out they would not believe what they had just heard. Most songs of the day had the same beat throughout, had no key changes, and did not have sections with guitar solos and no singing. This song opened the door for the genre of rock and roll and in extension rock and roll bands everywhere. As a guitarist myself I leaned how to play “Stairway To Heaven” and in learning such a complicated song it has influenced the rest of my music.
Angels & Airwaves United States, 2005 Being such a young band and a very new band to me Angles & Airwaves are still making their impact on the world of music, but it has not gone unnoticed. They are what is called a rock supergroup, meaning that they are a gathering of musicians who have already been in successful bands before being in Angels & Airwaves. Each member is a great musician in their own right and when put together they create a great sound. Most of the music I listen to has an ethereal quality to it, or rather it sounds like its coming from outer space. The band Angels & Airwaves is able to capture this celestial quality and their music becomes very inspiring because it sounds other worldly. Also a lot of their music gradually builds up in cadence and this creates a much more dynamic composition. This style can be translated over to the realm of two and three dimensional art, which is what I deal with mostly. To be able to have a composition that changes throughout but ultimately is united is difficult but rewarding. I try to replicate this style in my work.
â€œAngels & Airwavesâ€? - Rock Super-Group
Prince United States, 1958 There is no denying that some musicians are very eccentric and are viewed by the public to be very strange. Just take Michael Jackson for example. Prince is one of these artists but his talent out ways his strange image and lifestyle. The one thing you need to know about Prince that most people don’t realize is that he plays all of his own music, meaning that when you listen to one of his albums he is playing all the different instruments. He does not just play guitar and sing, he plays the piano, drums, bass guitar, and just about any other instrument he needs to compose what he wants. He also writes all his own music, lyrics and all. This type of talent is very rare in the music industry, especially today when most pop-stars are just singers who require back-up musicians who never get any of the credit they deserve. Prince may need other musicians when he is performing but when recording he is the sole creator. One of his best performances was at the 2007 Super Bowl half-time show where he played “Purple Rain” on a purple guitar in the rain. It was fantastic. His talent will continue to inspire me.
“Prince Love Symbol” - Multi-Instrument Musician and composer
Jim Lee Hiromu Arakawa Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird Akira Toriyama Nobuhiro Watsuki Jerry Scott/Jim Borgman Bryan Lee Oâ€™Malley
Jim Lee South Korea, 1964 I got into comic books only just recently. Even so they have always been a big part of my life even if I did not always read or collect them as I do now. There is something powerful about the concept of a superhero that everyone can identify with. Even if you don’t read comic books you know about superheroes because they have broken ground on popular culture. Especially recently with the on-set of big box office hits like “Spider-Man” the movie and “The Dark Knight.” But these movies would have no base to grow from if not for the comic books the characters were created for. One of the most famous comic book artists still working today is Jim Lee. He is something of a rock star comic artist with his attention to composition and awe inspiring detail. Not only are his pages dynamic but they are mesmerizing to look at. What makes his work so unique and influential are his backgrounds. Most comic artists take the lazy way out and don’t draw detailed backgrounds. Jim Lee does not. He always has amazingly complete backgrounds, many of which include massive architectural elements. This is very inspiring to the work I do.
“Batman Poster” - Comic Book Hero
Hiromu Arakawa Japan, 1973 -
As was mentioned earlier I have a small but powerful obsession with Asian culture and it shows through in the movies and shows I watch and the graphic novels I read. “Fullmetal Alchemist” is one of those graphic novels. Created solely by a woman by the name of Hiromu Arakawa, “Fullmetal Alchemist” is a very imaginative story about two brothers and their quest to regain their complete bodies through the use of alchemy. They are the result of an alchemical ritual gone wrong when they tried to revive their own mother. In their world it is a taboo to try and bring someone back to life after they have died but they ignored this and ended up losing parts of their own bodies and in the case of the younger brother, Alphonse, losing his entire body and becoming nothing more than a soul tied to a suite of armor. The story is one of companionship and trust among friends. It has good morals and deals with doing what is right even if what is right is the hardest choice. This is very motivating in how I live my life and is very uplifting. Also the artwork is different and does not fall entirely into the stereotypical Japanese style. It is very creative and meaningful work.
“Fullmetal Alchemist” - Japanese Manga (Comic Book)
Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird United States, 1962 - / 1954 This one is kind of just for fun. Turtles have always been my favorite animal and when I discovered superhero turtles as a kid, well I flipped out! The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have always been a huge part of my life. I grew up watching the live action movie and I can still quote it line for line. It’s amazing that something that could potentially be so cheesy like four giant turtles walking around and fighting crime in New York City is nothing short of fantastic and no where close to cheesy. It is a story of family, trust, self confidence, and good vs. evil. The turtles adoptive father Splinter is one of the best characters in the story. He is the wise, old, ninja master that serves as a teacher to not only the turtles but to the audience. One of his famous lines from the movie is, “All fathers care for their sons.” This is very powerful and important for kids to learn. The “Ninja Turtles” have taught me a lot over the years and I will continue to watch them.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” - Comic Book Heroes
Akira Toriyama Japan, 1955 -
“Dragon Ball Z” - Japanese Manga (Comic Book)
Anyone who is a member of my generation and denies ever seeing an episode of “Dragon Ball Z” when they were a kid is either lying or they did not have a TV in their house. That might be a slight exaggeration but this anime by Akira Toriyama was really that influential for people my age. It has been said to be the best action cartoon ever and that’s not far from the truth. I watched it almost religiously when I was in middle school and since everyone else watched it (even if they could not admit it at the time) we would talk about it at school with great enthusiasm. It was one of the first TV shows that I made an effort to actually follow and is the main reason I picked up a pencil and made my first stab at drawing. I made several drawings of “DBZ” characters all throughout middle school and became slightly famous for my drawing ability among my fellow classmates and even teachers. I had several people commission me to do work for them and I ended up selling my first pieces of art. I also began to excel in art class and enrolled every year. While in art class I was selected each year to represent my school at an annual community art show. So, thanks for inspiring me to draw Akira Toriyama!
Nobuhiro Watsuki Japan, 1970 Here is another example of Asian culture influencing my life and work. Nobuhiro Watsuki is the creator of one of the most famous and popular graphic novels of all time, “Rurouni Kenshin.” It is a story of a wandering swordsman in Japan during the time right after the revolution when western culture was making its first big impact. It was at this time that it became illegal for people to carry swords in public, but old habits die hard and for some warriors, or samurai, they could not give up their swords that easily. Kenshin is one of those warriors but he has decided to carry a reverse blade sword to prevent from taking life in battle. He has vowed to never kill again and instead do the best he can with his talent to save as many lives as he can. Besides being morally motivating, this story that Watsuki weaves is tied deeply to actual history and that requires ample amounts of research and study. It is in this that this story becomes something more than just a story and ultimately has a great impact on my life and work. In order to create great architecture one must constantly research and discover new aspects of life and art. “Rurouni Kenshin” taught me this. “Rurouni Kenshin” - Japanese Manga (Comic Book)
Jerry Scott/Jim Borgman United States, 1955 - / 1954 There has never been nor will there ever be a comic strip that has been as accurate at capturing what it’s like to live with a teenager as “Zits.” Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman are masters at depicting life as it unfolds in a common American household that contains a rebellious teenager. Being a teenager all throughout high school and even college (teenager at heart) this comic strip became an important tool for my family in our attempts to understand each other. When I’m home it is a morning ritual to read this strip and I have even begun to buy collections of the strip in book form. Two of which are titled “Jeremy and Mom,” and “Jeremy and Dad.” These collections are not only hilarious but very truthful to how common family dynamics work. It has taught me a lot about the more humorous sides of life and I have even used a few of the strips in some art projects before. I own quite a few of the books and I constantly read them to get a good laugh. Laughter is a big stress reliever and as an architect student I experience quite a lot of stress.
“Zits” - Newspaper Comic Strip
Bryan Lee O’Malley Canada, 1979 Bryan Lee O’Malley might not be the most talented comic artist out there but his ability at story telling and making the most of his cartoon-like style makes him a rising star in the field of graphic novels and popular culture. What got me interested in O’Malley’s work was the movie “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” directed by Edgar Wright who was featured earlier. It is a story of a slacker musician living in Canada (where O’Malley is from. Coincidence? I think not). In the story Scott Pilgrim falls in love with a new and mysterious girl and he must rise above his normal existence in order to date her. He must do so because this new girl, Ramona, has 7 evil exes and Scott must defeat each one in order to continue dating Ramona. It is about growing up and becoming a man and fighting for what you want the most. Also the fact that the nerd in the story gets the beautiful girl is very inspiring to me because architects are the nerds of art school. Besides this O’Malley’s art is very simplistic but it works for the story he is telling and one great thing to remember about art and something I always incorporate is never underestimate simplicity.
“Scott Pilgrim” - Graphic Novel in 6 Parts
Ole Kirk Christiansen Nathan Sawaya Andy Goldsworthy Christian Frederick Martin Gianlorenzo Bernini
Ole Kirk Christiansen Denmark, 1891 - 1958 Ever since I opened my first box of Legos you could say that my fate was sealed, that I was destined to become an architect. This is true for most architects and architecture students. Most of us still play with Legos on a regular basis. They are a most creative toy and one that has endless possibilities. The boxed sets that are for sale are only suggestions for what one can build. You may decide to build what is pictured on the front of the box but most kids build something completely different and Legos are one of the only toys that allows this freedom. Legos were invented by a carpenter in Denmark by the name of Ole Kirk Christiansen. He came up with the toys by making small models of houses and furniture that he would work on in his studio. These models were made from small interchangeable parts which were originally made from wood but later made of plastic. These were the first Lego bricks. The creative nature of Legos has been a big influence on my life and has helped train my brain to think in three dimensions. A very important skill to have as an architect.
â€œLegoâ€? - Popular Toy Company
Nathan Sawaya United States, 1973 Here is a perfect example of what one can build with Legos when they are unhindered by the suggestions of the box sets. Nathan Sawaya is a Lego Brick artist and has become very famous for his fun and unique sculptures made entirely out of Lego Bricks! I first discovered him in my freshman year of college when I was looking for different artists. I was doing a sketch book assignment with a concentration on how things work and I was looking at how a chair could be broken down into separate pieces that could then be put back together. This reminded me of Legos and how they are initially separate pieces that can be assembled into an infinite amount of structures. I searched Legos on-line and up came Nathan Sawaya as a Lego artist. This was a new concept to me but one that I very much liked. I have continued to look at his work and I find new sculptures all the time. He has taken a children’s toy and turned it into an art form. This notion of taking the mundane and making it grand is very appealing to me and my work.
“Untitled” - Lego Brick Sculpture
Andy Goldsworthy England, 1956 The concept of temporary art is a very intriguing concept to me and one artist that deals purely in temporary art is Andy Goldsworthy. I have looked at his work for many years now and I have one of his many books which is simply titled “Wood” and deals with sculptures that he creates from nature. All of his work comes directly from nature and he does not use anything artificial in the construction of his work. He just wakes up in the morning and walks out into the woods and makes art. This connection to nature is very powerful and very spiritual. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person and Andy Goldsworthy’s work helps me to see this spirituality in new ways. Also all of his work is in essence temporary. Some of his work is more permanent but since there are no artificial aspects it will eventually deteriorate and fall apart. This since of the temporary speaks greatly to my understanding of the spirit because nothing in this world is permanent. Everything must have an end and must return to the earth.
“Pebbles” - Rock Sculpture
Christian F. Martin Germany, 1796 - 1873 As was mentioned earlier I have played guitar since the age of 11 and use it quite often to escape from this world for an hour or two. It is a great release of stress and emotions because you are creating something so intangible and yet so powerful that it resonates within you long after it fades away. The main guitar that I play is a Martin DR Rosewood acoustic guitar and I have to thank Christian Martin for its creation. C.F. Martin was a marker and repairer of stringed instruments in Germany who specialized in guitars. In 1833 he moved to America and set up shop. His company made several innovations in the design and construction of the guitar. One being the flattop style which is still used today. The company is still going strong and is still family owned. Each guitar is hand assembled from quality parts and goes through a rigorous inspection process to insure quality. The guitars are highly sought after and every guitar player knows the name Martin. Not only has the Martin Guitar company supplied me with superb equipment for these many years their high standards have encouraged my work and will continue to do so for years to come. Martin DR Rosewood Dreadnought Guitar - Martin Guitar Company - (MPP)
Gianlorenzo Bernini Italy, 1598 - 1680 Some of the greatest art ever created by man was created during the Renaissance in Europe and one of the greatest artists of this time was Gianlorenzo Bernini. Characteristic of the time Bernini was a master at several different arts but he was an undisputed master when it came to sculpture. I was lucky enough to study his work up close in Italy and I also gave an onsite presentation on one of his masterpieces, “The Fountain of Four Rivers” in Rome. This fountain is one of hundreds of fountains in Rome but it is one of the most important. It is the centerpiece sculpture for the Piazza Navona, which is in the heart of Rome itself. The fountain depicts four river gods each representing one main river for each continent of the then known world. The Danube in Europe, the Nile in Egypt, the Ganges in Asia, and the Rio de la Plata in South America. This use of metaphor in Bernini’s work is very important for it gives his sculptures a greater meaning and a story. I try to implement this aesthetic into my work by giving the program of my building designs a unique metaphor. In doing so I elevate the meaning of the building. “La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” - Rome, Italy - (MPP)
J.R.R. Tolkien J.K. Rowling Stan Lee Louis Sachar Dan Millman
J.R.R. Tolkien South Africa, 1892 - 1973 “The Lord of the Rings” will forever be the standard for epic fantasy novels and it has been immortalized by Peter Jackson (featured earlier) and his award winning movie trilogy. But the one book that is often forgotten about is “The Hobbit” and without it J.R.R. Tolkien would never have written “The Lord of the Rings.” I have read “The Hobbit” four times in both the novel and graphic novel formats. I have also written a research paper on it focusing on the rousing and encouraging message it sends to its reader. In the story Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) is taken from his place of comfort and called to a greater purpose. He is thrown on a journey with 13 dwarves who have set out to retrieve a massive treasure that was stolen from them by a dragon. Tolkien originally wrote the tale as a bedtime story for his children and it became a multi-million best seller. What makes it so popular is the message it sends to the reader. It teachers about being humble and rising to a greater calling. This story has been instrumental to my life and my work and I will constantly be inspired by it. Also, as a side note, Tolkien illustrated all of his stories.
“The Hobbit” - Novel
J.K. Rowling England, 1965 Tolkien (featured on previous page) may have defined a standard to fantasy writing but he was well before my time. The writer who single-handily defined my generation has to be J.K. Rowling. Her 7 part series about a boy wizard named Harry Potter has become a cultural phenomenon. Stephen King is quoted on saying “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity.” Her books have inspired countless fan fiction (two being musical parodies), an 8 part movie franchise, several toys, and even a theme park in Orlando Florida. I say she has defined my generation not only because of the influences she has had on popular culture but because my generation and her books had the same timing in life. To further explain - I was 11 years old when I first picked up Harry Potter and HP himself is 11 years old in the first book! As Harry grew up so did I and I was able to share the pains of growing older with him. We both experienced adolescence at the same time and as I got more mature so did the story. Harry has to face bigger and darker obstacles as he gets older and so did I as I grew older and had to survive high school. It will always be a big part of my life. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” - Novel
Stan Lee United States, 1922 Everyone needs a hero at some point in their life. Whether that hero is a historical figure, an actual person, or an imaginary character. For me my hero is Spider-Man. The story of Spider-Man, written by Stan Lee, has always been a very popular one. The first Spider-Man movie still holds one of the biggest box office records for opening weekend of any comic book movie. The reason it’s so popular for many, including myself, is that besides having amazing spider powers the “man” under the mask is just a regular boy with everyday problems. Problems such as girlfriend troubles, high school bullies, college studies, and trying to keep a job. Most other superheroes only have problems when they are in costume but Spider-Man has just as many problems in his real life making him a multi-faceted and much more interesting character. The one quote that will always stick with me from Spider-Man is “With great power comes great responsibility.” With great design skills comes an even greater responsibility to design for the benefit of mankind as well as the earth.
“Spider-Man” - Comic Book Hero
Louis Sachar United States, 1954 There are some stories that work in a linear fashion and stay linear the whole way through. “Holes” by Louis Sachar is one of these stories but he is able to give this linear fashion an extra level of depth by telling multiple stories at the same time and have them all connect at the end. In the story we are presented with an unlucky kid by the name of Stanley Yelnats III who is sent to a juvenile correctional camp where he has to dig a hole each day in the hot sun. The camp leaders say that digging holes builds character but they are actually looking for a buried mystery item. Throughout the story Sachar pulls in flash back stories that at the time seem superfluous but at the end all tie together - almost like magic. I’ve read the book multiple times and it is one of those books where you can pick up on different things each time you read it. The movie version is also very good and is very loyal to the book. Sachar’s ability to connect seemingly unconnected pieces into one uniform composition has influenced my work greatly. When designing a building I usually start with a strong concept and during the design process I connect everything back to that singular concept. “Holes” - Novel
Dan Millman United States, 1946 Some artists who I consider to be very impactful on my life and work I have quite literally stumbled upon. You could almost call them divine accidents. Dan Millman is one of these artists. Dan Millman is a former trampolining world champion athlete, university coach, martial arts instructor, and college professor. He is also an author of fourteen self-help books, currently published in 29 languages, the most famous of which is the semiautobiographical novel, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.” Like most people my age I don’t read as much as I should and I tend to wait for the movie version to come out before I even think about picking up the book. Thankfully in some cases this is not true but for this case it is. I had never heard of the book “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” until the movie came out. From the trailer it looked like just another sports movie but I decided to watch it anyway. After seeing it for the first time it immediately became one of my favorite movies and I watch it again and again. It has influenced the way I live and think about my life in multiple ways and the book is just as important. It is not so much a self-help story as it is a self-realization story and for that it becomes a powerful human story.
“Peaceful Warrior” - Motion Picture and Novel
M.C. Escher Kasimir Malevich Francisco Goya Kimberly David
M.C. Escher The Netherlands, 1898 - 1972 I first discovered M.C. Escher way back in middle school and I was immediately fascinated by his work. Much of his work is architectural but beyond that his attention to detail is what interests me the most. There is no line wasted or feature overlooked. His work is very graphic in form and composition and makes for very dynamic pieces. He is famous for making impossible spaces. If you look closely at the example piece you will see that the stair is constantly ascending and descending at the same time. This is of course impossible and it keeps the viewers attention longer. Escher is also famous for tessellations, or artworks that consist of different pieces that all interlock and flow together and sometimes transform across the page. While I studied his work in middle school I made my own tessellation and ended up selling it to a teacher. It was the first major work I sold and that got me very interested in art. I also went to a gallery showing of Escherâ€™s work when I was younger and to see his work up close is quite remarkable.
â€œAscending and Descendingâ€? - Lithograph
Kasimir Malevich Ukraine, 1879 - 1935 I first discovered Kasimir Malevich in my second year of college when I was studying his work in art history class. He was a part of the Russian Constructivist movement and helped start the modern art movement that included cubism, futurism, and suprematism. He labeled suprematism as the new realism in painting and his abstract and non-objective work is very architectural in form and composition. The example piece you see here was actually the inspirational piece I picked that dictated my design process for an artistâ€™s residence project. I completed the project in my second year of college in Architectural Fundamentals III. To start off the process I created several study models based on some descriptive language I was able to pull form the painting. Words such as overlapping, light vs. dark, interconnected, layered, and fragmented. Since the source material is very architectural it was easy to pull architectural forms from it and it aided greatly in my overall design.
â€œSuprematismâ€? - Oil on Canvas
Francisco Goya Spain, 1746 - 1828 Some artists get entirely trapped in a style and help secure a place in history for that style while some artists enter the fray on the cusp of change. Francisco Goya is the latter. During his career as an artist Goya added to the old, traditional style of painting but as he hurtled through life and experienced the horror of war his style changed into what we know today as modern art. He is recognized as the first modern artist and his art opened the door for many future artists, some of which include Manet and Picasso. The way his style changed throughout his life is very inspiring to me because I donâ€™t label myself as having a style. I feel that I am able to respond to each project differently because, if you think about it, every project needs its own approach. Especially in architecture since every project will have a unique site and each site will have its own set of different natural and physical elements. Also the fact that Goya was way ahead of his time has been influential on many artists. I believe all passionate artists strive to push their craft as far as they can in an attempt to discover new and progressive characteristics.
â€œThe Shootings of May 3rd 1808â€? - Oil on Canvas
Kimberly David United States, 1988 So for my last entry I decided to include an artist I know personally. Kimberly David has been one of my best friends since high school and she is one of the only people I can talk to about almost anything. Her artwork is constantly evolving and even though she decided to go to a liberal arts school instead of an art school she never lost her passion for art. She is constantly creating and constantly pushing her own expectations and if that is not inspiring I don’t know what is. She has always been so supportive of my work at SCAD and just about any other work I do outside of school. We frequently have extensive and enlightening conversations about art and life in general and we have collaborated on several projects. For example I have helped her document most of her artwork for her website and helped her explore different methods of printing, which has helped me in my own work by giving me great practice in the realm of photography. Also being able to see another artist at work is a great experience to have, especially if you get involved in the creative process.
“Rooted” - Acrylic on Canvas
Published on Aug 21, 2012
A personal journal of artists and other creative sources. Created for Photography course Black & White Technique, Winter 2011 at the Savanna...