Quiet is a luxury, Matisse, Bob Dylan + other musings

Part 1 Are you inspired? How was NYC? What did you think of Matisse?

I often feel a little guilty when asked these questions after a much anticipated trip or well-known event, because my answer can never just be: Good! I loved it! NYC was the BEST!

There are many times I wish my answer could be one of those. Wouldn't it be easier?-- I often fantasize.

The truth is yesterday's Matisse + NYC left me feeling like I need quiet.  MoMA's Matisse exhibit was shoulder to shoulder and groups of children sitting crisscross applesauce watching videos of Matisse creating-- all set on the stage that is NYC.  It was a sensory overload and hard for me to respond to his art in the moment-- I found it frustrating.  I spent a good deal of my energy in NYC fantasizing about quiet or being up several floors from street-level which produces that lovely soothing muffled noise of traffic, creating the feeling of insulation.

For me, quiet is a luxury.

I've met people who are surprised that I choose to live in this plain jane of a town. (sometimes one of these people is me). In my town, I have managed to make and maintain a quiet space for myself. Right now, I am upstairs in my bed listening to the muffled sounds of my family as I type: Heaven.

And on the topic of sound, I feel it's important to share that I rarely listen to music and when I do it's alone.  The music I tend to enjoy usually has a singer who is hard to understand- think Bob Dylan, except I don't really care for his music... so maybe think artists who are heavily influenced by Bob Dylan.

Can you imagine that? I suppose this is a little elusive. Like a slippery bar of soap you try to hold by squeezing your hands together- it slips out from your grip, but if you hold your hand still it will stay put.

The feeling I get from listening to music like this IS somehow synonymous to how I feel when I experience nourishing quiet and good design.

For me the junction between chaos and organization is the point where good design, music & art happen.

Part 2

Matisse felt he "painted with scissors" as he made his cut-outs.  He blurred the lines between the canvas and the wall by removing the canvas altogether.  The canvas was never big enough, the walls were never big enough, the house was never big enough to contain Matisse's essence that he expressed in his cut-outs.  His cut-outs that became his "wall-paper" seemed to be the only way he could make peace with having to be contained by the shelter he had to live in.  Being human demands we contain ourselves for our own protection.  I believe because of his drive to reconcile this basic human need of shelter with his essence, that these cut-outs were created. The cut-outs were primarily created in the later years of his life when he was not well . He relied on his assistants to help execute his art: energy and vision. He created beautiful works from his bed or chair with their able bodies-- many works being larger than my living room floor! He trusted other people to help carry out his vision. He collaborated.

Is his art any less impactful because he had others help him physically create it? No.

This makes me think of the design work I do -helping people get clear on how they want to decorate and giving them the easy steps to do it.

Does it make your home any less an expression of who you are if you seek and employ the guidance of someone like me? No.

What also strikes me is the myth that colors our idea of how beautiful, meaningful things are created. The myth that beautiful & meaningful things are created alone – void of input from others.  Either you're creative or you're not. That even though you may pine to create art or make a beautiful space to call home, if you don't know how, or are not able to do it all by yourself somehow it's inauthentic and doesn't reflect you.

Are you telling yourself some version of this myth?  Is there a project in your home that has been stunted because you're afraid to ask for help?  What is it?  I'd love to know!