Inspired by... Martha Graham

My inspirations are wide and far. I think sharing them with you would be a good way to get to know the foundation behind my work more.

Let me introduce you with the American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991).

92df19a70bb425f4489061f3baaf5d9d.jpg
e47b83ad8a5960f1ed9ced3f73fc9575.jpg
eb42080096ca4470174933693d75ab3d.jpg

I first discovered her years ago through Pinterest when collecting imagery for a moodboard I was developing during my short Fashion Design studies in Denmark back in 2014. I was envisioning a womenswear collection conveying a sense of mysticism, authenticity and free-spirit. Even though I didn't end up completing this collection and those studies, I am grateful this experience resulted in discovering my love for drawing people and this awesome artist.

Here are the 4 reasons Martha Graham inspire me:

1. Her dancing style

She revolutionised the Western dance world, while introducing her unique bold and spiritual approach to dancing (which included spasm and trembling). Her style spoke to more taboo forms of movements and emotional expression and inspired by her father, a doctor whose practice involved using physical movement to remedy nervous disorders on his patients.

2. Her philosophy

I love her mindset and her constant reminder that creativity is an expression of Human's soul. Let's start with one of my favourite quote of hers:  

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others. "

How powerful is that? To me, this quote reinforces the idea that by letting go of the clutter that separates us from seeing our uniqueness, we can tap into our true creative power which is by essence like life itself - imperfect, impermanent and incomplete or Wabi-sabi.

Here's more:

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
Great dancers are great because of their passion."

In other words, perfection is overrated. I'll talk more about it in my next blog post next week.

3. Fashion Icon

It is hard not to fall in love with the bold and minimalist costumes she was designing for herself. I am especially impressed with the way she was playing and integrating the garment into her choreographies, which makes each pose look effortlessly graphic and so photogenic.

f65ca722d50ddff5ad619be55e69ded3.jpg
257b1a1885ffd0b2b4d38d94ff663c99.jpg
a0b5a60352b50aea528cf07276f90481.jpg

4. Multidisciplinary creative collaborations

Another aspect of Martha Graham that I find interesting is her habit of collaborating with other artists & designers who were all coming from different disciplines (photography, sculpture, fashion...). My favourite ones were the one she did with Isamu Noguchi, Andy Warhol, Imogen Cunningham and Soichi Sunami.

Here's an artwork I've created to pay tribute to Martha Graham

 
Martha Graham Poster.png
 

I am also selling two art prints in shop which are inspired by her soulful movements.

 
 

What do you think about Martha Graham?

Did you like this article? If so, feel free to leave a comment below, share it with your friends or follow my Martha Graham Pinterest board here. See you soon!