This is Feather Duster Theater.
I’m sharing a short sci-fi film, Within and Without, based on the Dunhuang exhibition (this is the final cut).
This film was inspired by religion, icons, Dunhuang, Jean-Luc Godard.
Inspiration is anything in front of my lens.
my name is: Simon Toparovsky
i make art: Sculptures and installations
Simon Toparovsky focuses on narrative art. His sculptures begin with wax, clay, found objects, plants, textiles and metals. In Los Angeles, he’s particularly well known for his cast bronze crucifix for the main altar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, which was consecrated in 2002.
In this #GettyInspired video, Simon tells us how he found a beautiful parallel between his sculpture The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian and a leaf in a newly acquired illuminated manuscript in the Getty Museum’s collection.
Throughout our time with Simon at his home studio, he often spoke of emotion and feeling. “My work shows a Sebastian without a head,” he told us, “it’s not about thought anymore. It’s about devotion and courage.” This sums up Simon and his work perfectly.
Connect with Simon Toparovsky
Reina Hidalgo and Asiel Hardison have been collaborating for 13 years—and dancing almost as long as they’ve been walking. Today they’re professional dancers, teachers, choreographers, and TV producers; Asiel is Lady Gaga’s dance captain, and you may have seen Reina on stage with Rihanna, Pink, or Missy Elliott.
They didn’t choose dance; it chose them. “I was always that one little kid dancing at parties and my mom was like, ‘we need to put her in something‘,” says Reina. Today their creative process “starts with the music inspiring an emotion from your body,” says Asiel. The space of the Getty enhances the process by inspiring them to “be free and big.”
Peek inside Reina and Asiel’s dance studio and take in the Getty air and landscape with them in this #GettyInspired video.
Connect with Reina Hidalgo
Twitter: @REINAHIDALGO521 | Instagram: @reinahidalgo521 | Website: www.reina-hidalgo.squarespace.com
Connect with Asiel Hardison
Twitter: @asielhardison | Instagram: @asielhardison
my name is: Renée Graef
i make: Illustrations for children’s books
Renée Graef makes imaginary worlds come alive. Her vivid illustrations bring us closer to beloved characters from history and fiction including Laura Ingalls Wilder, Paul Bunyan, and American Girl’s Kirsten doll. She’s also designed gaggles of irresistible animals, from puffins to badgers to elephants. This summer she’s been at work on the paintings for Thérèse Makes a Tapestry, a children’s book that takes you back in time to the golden age of tapestry weaving in France.
“To inspire is to fill someone with spirit, the spirit to create,” she told us. “When I’m inspired, it moves me to look at things differently, to make something beautiful.” She invited #GettyInspired to her studio space to see her illustrations-in-progress for the soon-to-be-released book Thérèse Makes a Tapestry by Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs, and then visited the Getty to show us some of her favorite paintings.
Joe Reza, better known as Prime, is one of L.A.’s most influential graffiti writers. He’s also a painter and the designer of the cover for the Getty Graffiti Black Book, a monumental collaboration brought together the work of 150 street artists.
Prime and the other Getty Black Book artists were inspired by historic books in the collections of the Getty Research Institute that showcase amazing scripts and geometric designs. The contemporary artists crafted letterforms, drafted perspective, and merged line, color, and form with the same techniques employed by Renaissance masters like Albrecht Dürer in their own book designs.
These books’ survival across the centuries made a deep impression on Prime. “They make me want to create something that will last,” he told us, “something that will be saved and cherished.”
#GettyInspired visited Prime’s studio downtown, then joined him to page through some of his favorite rare books.
my name is: Maz Jobrani
i make: Comedy
You might know Maz Jobrani as the star of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, co-host of the podcast Minivan Men, or author of the book I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One On TV. A comedian, Maz moved from Tehran to California when he was six years old. Today he spends a lot of time writing jokes about his kids—how much he loves them, and how much they drive him crazy.
Maz doesn’t wait around for inspiration to strike. “Part of inspiration is to create fun stuff for myself,” he told us. When he visits the Getty, Maz is particularly drawn to the views of L.A. “If I’m feeling down or if I’m feeling uninspired, seeing the view I feel like, ‘Oh wow, no matter what, someone’s experiencing something similar to me,’ and it inspires me to keep going.”
Maz invited #GettyInspired to his standup show at the Laugh Factory, then took a walk with us at the Getty Center.
my name is: Omar Brownson
i make: Change
Omar Brownson is the executive director of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, a nonprofit that is working with Frank Gehry to transform the river into a place that brings nature and people together. “Inspiration is the art of dreaming,” Omar told us, “and then actually making that dream a reality.”
Omar grew up on a Native American reservation in Washington State, and his family’s move to urban L.A. came as a shock. “L.A. was this very forbidding place. All of a sudden, I could only run to the end of the block.” He enjoys being high atop the Getty Center hill, he told #GettyInspired, and finding quiet moments in Robert Irwin’s Central Garden—a spot that offers a dramatic contrast with the urban maze of L.A. “To have both of those in the same place is a gift.”
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.
If you’ve ever driven down Hollywood Boulevard, you’ve probably passed right by Graham Chaffee’s tattoo shop. Graham designs his own tattoos, paints, and draws comics. He also finds inspiration in all kinds of art. We met Graham on Instagram when he shared his beautiful sketches of an 18th-century sculpture with us.
When Graham visits museums, he makes an emotional connection to artists who lived centuries ago. “When you can see the artist’s hand in the work, you make a visceral connection to what you’re doing,” he says. “it makes the art less remote, more touchable.” One of his favorites is a painted wood statue of a saint at the Getty, carved in the late 1600s.
Peek inside Graham’s cool Hollywood shop and visit the Getty galleries with him in this #GettyInspired video.
my name is: Kent Twitchell
i make: Murals and drawings
Kent Twitchell’s larger-than-life figures are the kings and queens of L.A.’s freeways. He’s created some of the most compelling murals in Los Angeles, from the musicians of the Los Angeles Conservancy to the so-called “Freeway Lady,” a tribute to his grandmother.
Kent told us that he stays inspired by feeding his unconscious mind with beauty:
“It’s like with music; it puts you in a context of high appreciation for the aesthetics of life. It just makes what I’m doing makes more sense. [It’s] the same thing visually when I go to the Getty, because I surround myself with the greatest art that’s ever been done.
The art of Greece and Rome, and Europe, is very very inspirational to me….You don’t really have to put things consciously, you can just be in a context, in an environment of beauty, and that goes into your computer, and that is what you draw on when you do your own work.”
#GettyInspired visited the Getty with Kent and joined him in Sherman Oaks, where he and his team are putting the finishing touches on the Freeway Lady’s new home.
my name is: Eric Garcetti
i make: Improvisational jazz
You might not be surprised that mayor Eric Garcetti loves L.A. What you may not know is that he fills his office with the best of Los Angeles creativity—art by Ed Ruscha, furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, photographs by Julius Shulman.
The mayor is also a classically trained pianist, and his office features a piano that belonged to his grandmother. “I turn to this piano in between meetings, maybe when I have a little bit of desk time,” he told us. “Not often enough, but it helps exercise a different part of my brain… and inspir[es] me to get in touch with something that’s more transcendent.”
Hear the mayor’s latest jazz composition and stroll through the Julius Shulman prints outside his office in this #GettyInspired video.
my name is: Jim Cuno
i make: Collaboration
As a high schooler Jim Cuno was a football star. Today he’s president and CEO of the Getty Trust—which means he works with over 1,000 colleagues to make the world a better place through art, from conserving cultural heritage around the world to building our art and archives. What both roles have in common is an emphasis on teamwork.
There are two aspects to his job, Jim explains: people and ideas. “There’s a constant renewal of inspiration by working with these brilliant people,” he says of the Getty community, which includes our staff as well as visiting scholars and artists who enrich our campus life throughout the year. “I’m better working with them than I am alone.”
The other is thinking, reading, and writing. “Writing is like building something…the craftsmanship is a perpetual source of inspiration from one sentence to the next. It’s the doing things that makes it work for me.”
Meet Jim and hear what moves him to make a difference in the world in this #GettyInspired video.
Read Jim’s 2015 year in review »