“All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else?”
—William S. Burroughs

A couple weeks ago, my aunt and I visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see the special Chihuly exhibit. We ended up going through the exhibit several times–partially because it was $20 and we wanted to get our money’s worth, but also because it was stunning. His pieces all feel like a bit of science fiction world building. Chihuly’s glass is intricate and wild, just as gorgeous close up as it is from afar.

There’s this one piece in the exhibit that looks like a bunch of flowers–and I don’t have a picture of it because it was incredibly hard to photograph on my crappy phone camera. When you first see it, it’s obviously some gorgeous, lush botanical piece. But when you move in closer, there are little sea creatures–anemone and nautilus shells and an octopus. And I loved that. Who would expect there to be an octopus hidden in a bunch of flowers?

I left the exhibit feeling like I’d seen a new perspective. I don’t know how to critique art in any sort of intellectual way, but Chihuly’s work gave me new creative ideas. Juxtaposing intimate detail with grand-scale pieces. Mixing the organic and the man-made. Creating work that has shadows and reflections that are nearly as beautiful as the objects themselves.

It’s the same thing as listening to a particularly poignant lyric in a song or watching a movie that makes you cry. It’s creative fuel. You want to take that bit of art that made you FEEL and mine it for your own use. The Burroughs quote above talks about writing as a collage of words–but I think it can also be a collage of ideas from all sides of the artistic spectrum. I have no doubt that some quintessential essence from Chihuly’s exhibit is now stuck in my brain, ready to be remolded and pieced into my writing.

Are there any artists that you like to use as creative fuel?




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