Friday, November 8, 2013

Inspirations and Artists

                    What inspires an artist or a chef?  Where do they get their ideas?  George Harrison got the idea for the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by opening a book in his parent’s library and randomly pointing to the phrase “gently weeping.”  Paul McCartney’s conversation with a cab driver who described his busy life as “Working hard, working eight days a week” became a hit song.  Dave Brubeck’s encounter with the exotic rhythms of Middle Eastern and Indian music inspired the meter-busting “Take Five”. 
          If you ask some of the 25 artists and 7 chefs who will be at Creative Spark’s Art on the Beach and Chefs in the Kitchen, they’ll tell you that inspirations come from some surprising places. Like being distracted. This year’s poster artist Carol McGill for example was painting colorful houses when her eyes were drawn to a white one nearby just as a shaft of sunlight struck the tin roof.  “That’s what I wanted to capture.  All those hot colors.  If I drove you to that house, you would insist it couldn’t be the one on the poster.”  Artists notice these things.
          Chef Jane Smith who will provide desserts for the “Toast the Artists Reception” that ends the tour threw her plan for a Farmer’s Market demo out the window when she saw the variety of tomatoes being sold. “Instead of making salads, I set up a tomato tasting station complete with condiments and herbs. People, including growers, lingered and told stories of their family traditions…. Many seemed to be searching for a match with a taste memory of a childhood tomato.”  Flexibility paid off.
          Although the beach at sunrise was her intended subject, a field of brightly colored wildflowers caught Deanna Walter’s eye along the way.  Especially one solitary yellow one.  The one yellow flower represents the viewer.  Even among all the other flowers, each one of us is lovely and unique” she thought.  The painting “Wildflowers” has this deeper meaning.
     Other artists also told of profound
insights that were sparked by unlikely
scenes. Take Kristy Bishop.  If you saw a holey, woody skeleton of a bush would you be inspired? She was. Through hand dyed silks she explored the idea of what is left behind when life ends.  This is art that speaks with emotion.
          Sandy Logan’s photograph was sparked by a mystery.  While examining the ruins of a house being torn down “I noticed the strange outline of what appeared to be a post box near the top of the stair.  The arched shape was only about two inches deep, thus not allowing for either mail or some reliquary to be placed therein. Clearly, something else had been its early purpose, but what?”  Through his eyes, the mystery became art.
          Art can be transformative too.  After an injury ended her career as an EMT, D. Page started creating with glass.  Her whimsical art was an antidote to the recovery she endured.  The recycled materials she uses resonate with her situation, “Like me, my art is not ready to be put out to pasture.  We are working on our second chance at life...”
          Skip Shaffer was inspired by family heritage, the memory of his grandmother making spicy crab cakes at the legendary Henry’s Restaurant.  Her recipe for Henry’s Crab Cakes was preserved for decades as a family treasure.  Skip’s father turned it into a business, selling the delicious creations to a few restaurants.  But last year Skip took it to the next level with his creative input.  Now sold in several supermarkets, it has become a new career and a passion for him which he’s eager to let patrons taste.   
            To kick off the fundraiser, Creative Spark has begun a community mural on Sullivan’s Island. The headline “I Am Inspired By…” has prompted passers-by to write: “the barrier islands and animals”, “playing with my sister”, “running the island”, “my new school”, “upbeat music” and dozens more.  During the Nov. 10 event, the mural will be one of 12 stops on the self guided tour on Sullivan’s Island which includes extraordinary houses, artists’ studios and two after parties.
Creative Spark’s motto is “Everyone has a creative spark”.  Art on the Beach is a great place to ignite yours.
If You Go
Art on the Beach and Chefs in the Kitchen is a house tour on Sullivan’s Island that celebrates artists and chefs.  It will be Sunday, Nov. 10 from 1 to 5 PM with after parties until 7PM.  Tickets are available in advance for $35 at, at the Sandpiper Gallery, 2210 Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island and at Everyday Gourmet 1303 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Mt. Pleasant.
On Nov. 10, tickets are available for $40 starting at noon at Battery Gadsden, 1921 I’On, Sullivan’s Island. 

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