Saskia Wilson-Brown of the Institute for Art and Olfaction has taught workshops at the Getty, inspired by the art and exhibitions on view.
She brings an experimental approach to the field of perfumery, inspired by the belief that scent can and should be used as a contemporary art medium—but that it first needs to be understood as a valid creative medium within a broader historical context.
To her, inspiration is “an initially unremarkable experience that triggers action—often months or even years later.”
my name is: Sarah Ferone
i make: Illustrations (and tend a backyard garden!)
what inspires me about the getty is: I do a lot of editorial illustration and some food illustration as well. I look at nature a lot to get inspiration from form and texture and color. We’re [Sarah and her partner, Casey] also novice backyard gardeners. We have a friend who does gardening professionally so she’s opened our eyes to what’s out there and introduced us to the names of things and interesting plants, pointing out stuff that we might have overlooked. When I come to gardens, now, I feel like I’ve got a bigger perspective and recognize and appreciate more.
to me, inspiration is: Inspiration is starting to see connections between things and seeing something in a new light, either by encountering something new that I’ve never seen before that kind of makes me go, “Wow, that’s incredible,” or even seeing something old with fresh eyes. This is my second time here at the museum and I love seeing the paintings again and coming out to the garden in a different season, seeing things in a new light.
I feel like every time you approach it, you have a different mindset and perspective or things reveal their different character to you.
All of a sudden, something connects in your head and you’re like, “How did that happen? And now I have to get it out. Got to sketch or write that down.”
my name is: Lala Ragimov
i make: Drawings, paintings, gem engravings, jewellery, sculpture, prints
i’m sharing: A copy after Boucher and two copies after Rubens done with the help of the Getty’s database of high-resolution images of the collection. It’s an invaluable resource for my own studies and for art classes I teach.
what inspires me about the getty is: The art collection, the wonderful, thoughtfully curated shows, but also the unique atmosphere that feels removed from the hurried everyday reality. It feels like a better, more refined, cultured and inspired world. The curator and restorer tours, rare or non-existent at other museums and regular at the Getty, also provide important inspiration as a chance to ask those experts questions and hear their opinions.
Last but not least, the Getty has an amazing research library that I have been using for the past ten years to study the techniques of the masters and simply to look through good art books, old and new, to get further inspired.
to me, inspiration is: A feeling of a rush, a sharp longing to create something that has certain characteristics of the object, person or environment I am looking at or thinking about. It can also come as a wish to possess the object/characteristic that is fulfilled by creating its copy; or to “talk” to it by creating an artistic response. It feels very similar or even equivalent to being in love.
I find inspiration in old art and in the spirit of learning and research that exists in museums. I am also inspired by nature as I see it in life, as it is described by modern science, and of course as it is shown in art from ancient to modern.
my name is: Virginia Hein
i make: Drawings, paintings and sketches, though I can’t always separate those things. Most all of my personal work is done on location…since several years ago my work left the confines of the studio. I love the focused attention of observing a place, and everything that makes it distinct, as well as the immediacy and the unpredictability of observing and drawing life as it happens.
i’m sharing: A watercolor panorama of the Getty Center.
what inspires me about the getty: Aside from the fact that the Getty has had some truly wonderful shows, like the recent Turner and Andrea del Sarto exhibitions, I am always inspired by the site itself.
Taking the tram up the hill feels like I’m approaching a marble temple high on a hill with that marvelous 360° view (I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way). The grounds, garden and buildings with their sculptural light are always a pleasure to wander (and sketch!).
I’ve always appreciated that the Getty maintains a gallery dedicated to drawing, where I’ve seen so many inspiring master drawings.
to me, inspiration is: I love that the word that means something that moves one to create—is the same word as the act of breathing in. When I have really been inspired in my life (as when I was moved to begin a daily practice of drawing on location), it was as if a window was suddenly opened, and fresh air came pouring in.
The imagination is fueled and new possibilities seem to appear. Creative fuel and breathing seem to me to be equally necessary to sustain life.
my name is: Mónica Bachué
i make: Clothing, and am a boutique owner
i’m sharing: A fashion design inspired by French prints from the era of Louis XIV.
what inspires me about the getty: The potential to make memories. I’m from Columbia and I didn’t grow up with the opportunity to visit museums, so when I finally was able to do it, I was always pushing myself to visit the most amazing museums. I’ve been able to take my parents to the Getty; we celebrated Mother’s Day there. Actually, I took my boyfriend there to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and that night he proposed to me. We are really connected to the Getty because it’s where we’ve been creating the most important memories in our life.
to me, inspiration is: When you’re sitting in front of the ocean and you have a lot of problems, but then finally you kind of realize that nothing is really important, and everything is going to be okay. That’s what inspiration feels like to me. When you’re free. That sensation that everything will be perfect.
When you can’t seem to find inspiration, it’s the struggle that is most beautiful part of the process. If you feel like you’re struggling, know that you are at the moment where anything is possible and you have no limits.
my name is: Iris Liu Wang
i make: Experiments with art and fashion
i’m sharing: I made the black and white tearing above, as I was inspired by the word “museum.” Museums are custodians of the stories of many people, from many places, and to reflect that I ripped up paper and reconstructed a whole image from many pieces.
Art and experience are very connected for me. Even my artwork is about fusion and experiment. I’m always looking for new things and I’m always curious to see how I can change things in different ways.
to me, inspiration is: Inspiration for me is something that is emotional, risky, and fun. My work has always experimented with risk. If you’re looking for inspiration, my advice would be—be open-minded, think of something that seems impossible to do. And go find things that give you strong emotions. Don’t limit yourself. Be brave.
my name is: F. Scott Hess
i make: Paintings
F. Scott Hess is a Los Angeles painter who works with traditional materials—oil paint and egg tempera—and takes inspiration from the techniques of European painters of centuries past. He paints the human figure with a style that’s been called “an unusual blend of old master technique with a generous dollop of surrealism.”
F. Scott told us he’s particularly drawn to Rembrandt:
“When I’m in a museums all over the world [and] I see a Rembrandt, I tend to end up talking to those paintings, and I don’t do that with a lot of paintings. I’d like to say that I’m talking to the people in his paintings, but really I’m talking to Rembrandt. And I’m actually saying, you know, ‘Oh man, I can’t believe this is that good.’ I’m mumbling under my breath, and people around me probably think I’m crazy.”
#GettyInspired visited F. Scott at his studio and then took a walk with him to see Rembrandt paintings at the Museum.
A poet and librarian in Hollywood, Michalle Gould contacted us on Twitter to share her poem “I Spit in the Lock and the Knob Turns,” inspired by Gustave Moreau’s watercolor Diomedes Devoured by Horses.
She accepted our invitation to visit the Getty and record her poem for #GettyInspired. (That’s her in the sound booth.)
I Spit in the Lock and the Knob Turns
I spit in the lock and the knob turns.
A wire stretches between two towers,
but is it before the walk, or just after
a person has fallen? In a painting,
a man is devoured by his own horses,
after teaching them to love the taste
of human flesh. I was once told that
being shot feels just like being slapped.
I never felt the needle going in, but now
my jaw aches at the site of the injection.
The artist’s signature is neat in the corner,
impassive to the horror his brush has
depicted; the man’s body surprisingly white
and clean, as if he had turned to statue
when the mares’ jaws clamped down on him.
His blood streaks instead over his violated cloak,
down to where a hoof still tramples it,
a quite delicate pink turning red, like the flesh
of a fish where it is caught up against a wire net.
“A shame,” says the woman behind me.
“It was once such a beautiful piece of fabric.”
Title and first line from Frank O’Hara’s “Meditations in an Emergency.”
i am: Pompeyo Cepeda
i make: Pottery
what inspires me about the getty is: The black and red Greek vases at the Getty Villa are a feast for my eyes. This is one of the reasons I love working with clay; the life of these vessels is practically forever. These ancient artworks inspire me to try new techniques.
to me, inspiration is: I used to think that inspiration was gained when one sees a beautiful image, but I have come to terms with myself and decided that inspiration comes while observing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing. It is possible to find inspiration almost by every action of my quotidian life.
I have not made any pottery in the last five months, all I can do is wait. I know that it will arrive at the right moment at the right place. A recent bronze-making course at the Getty helped me get on track, and in the right observational mindset.
I’ve already sketched out some things I’d like to make sometime soon.