Posted in inspiration, process

The beginning of an idea

My latest fascination seems to be learning about that moment when an idea plants itself in the mind.  Zillions of thoughts go zinging in and out and all about the brain yet among all of those imc0mplete thoughts, urges, suggestions, what is it that causes us to notice one particular blip?  I like the story when that small word or short sentence or feeling is siezed and what happens to the mind and life of the person carrying that idea into something tangible, something lived.

Recently, I took myself on a date to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  I thoroughly enjoyed the company, stayed as long as I liked and lingered in rooms that I felt like lingering in (and of course rushed through the rooms that didn’t hold my interest).  There were two exhibitions that grabbed me: photographs of Glasglow slums in the 1860s and the Scottish Family Portrait series focusing on recent photographs of immigrant families from Pakistan.  With the latter, it is actually the short film “Fragments of a Love Story” by Sana Bilgrami that cut right through to my current fascination.

It all began with a photograph of a girl in a family photo album.  Sana had been looking through the album with a relative and had seen this photo, one small photograph taken nearly 100 years ago.  The photograph was of a girl and no one could explain who she was.  This was what sparked the spark, this was the small ‘zing’ that flashed through the filmaker’s mind, the question of “Who is she?” that started her on a fascinating course to uncover deeper truths about her family.  The film is only 15 minutes and every one of those minutes is captivating.  I want to send Sana a message to tell her how her work has made an impact, how it moved people to stop and look and listen and feel and think and all of those things that art is capable of doing.

My favourite quote from the film, grandmother to camera: “…but destiny chooses what is to happen.”

Over the Christmas holiday, I was given a most spectacular book.  This is the book:

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed

My love of big, slabtastic structures isn’t much of a secret.  I think this intrique began when I decided that actually, Trinity Car Park wasn’t hideous.  In fact, she was downright beautiful.  The big, cement slab structure that once occupied the Gateshead skyline transfomred itself from an eyesore to something quite wonderful to behold.

A very good friend of mine gave me this book as he is very aware of my peculiar interest.  Flicking through the pages was a long string of happy moments.  Eventually, I read the artist’s words, explaining his project and his infatuation with the structures he photographed.

“This project came about by chance.  It began with a second-hand book bought on a sidewalk in Tbilisi one day in August 2003.”  Frederic Chaubin then goes on to explain how the events unfolded from starting as a small light of interest, building itself up into a personal delight of visiting such places, eventually manifesting itself into an outrageously rockin’ book.

That one small idea.  That one small fragile insignificant thought that was heard.  What amazing things happen to our lives when we listen to that thing that tugs at the soul.



I am an artist living and working in a rather gorgeous city. My art can be purchased in various shops throughout the city as well as from my online shop. Most of my work is for commission, private and corporate. I am the founder of Crash Course in Art History Limited.

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