You know when you are at the doctor or watching a medical drama (any other lifelong Grey’s Anatomy fans over here?!) and the doctor or nurse checks the patients “vitals”? They are checking all the signs that indicate whether that person is going to live or if they are on the verge of death. For artists, checking our vital signs regularly is really important. Our creativity can be flourishing one day, as healthy as it can be and then one day, often without warning, it can be dead as a door nail. Inspiration is vital for an artist and in order to keep my own vitals in check, I have decided to start a series where I share the people, places and experiences that are keeping me inspired aka alive.
If you do not know Jamie Beck from Ann Street Studio, stop everything you are doing right now and go follow her on Instagram! I somehow stumbled upon Jamie a few months ago and I am only sorry I didn't know about her sooner! I am about to sound like a major fan girl and its because I am! Its been a very, very long time since a contemporary artist has inspired me like she has and you are about to see why.....
Jamie is an American photographer who moved from a fast pace lifestyle in NYC to a slow, quieter, small town life in Provence, France. She creates the most elaborate and beautiful still lives out of food, florals and even bugs (here - watch closely and you can see the snails moving around, here and here) and then photographs them creating a piece of art that transports you back to the renaissance. And often, she even eats her still lives! Let me explain, say she is using artichokes in her still life, she will then cook with them that night for dinner. Even her meals are beautiful! It's so simple, yet genius and delicious. But yall! The best part is that she shows us her creative process in her stories (and highlights) on Instagram! This is my favorite part about following her because you see the care she takes in creating every little detail. From collecting and rehydrating a dead bug to use in a still life (I know it sounds sort of weird but it was oddly beautiful) to watching her take the time to grind spices with a mortar and pestle to use in her dinner that night. I mean, I don’t know about you but I have a pepper grinder from Trader Joe’s and that’s about as close as I get in terms of “fresh ground spices” for our meals. But watching Jamie live this life of truly caring about what she is creating, even in her food, has really inspired me.
Jamie is also brilliant when it comes to self portraits. I personally love self portraits. Whenever I am in a creative rut, I sometimes paint a portrait of myself and over the years I have painted quite a few. I've tried to convince Taylor we should create a gallery wall in our house of all my self portraits, maybe in the guest room, a bunch of Laurie Anne’s watching you sleep. I am laughing out loud writing this because that would be so creepy. Don’t worry, future guests, I won’t do that to you! ----- Ok, back to Jamie's self portraits... I love that her portraits look like paintings. They are so moody, dramatic, romantic and soft all at the same time. I love when she multiplies herself over and over in them (my personal favorite - *fair warning, if you are at work reading this, there is a bit of nudity in this one and the next link*.. be sure to read her post along with this portrait, very thought provoking). This one is so simple but so beautiful. And this one!! The behind the scenes on how she created this one was FASCINATING! For those of you that may not realize, she takes these photos of herself using a tripod and the glorious invention of remote shooting. There is not another photographer taking the photos. This is all her work. How amazing is that?!
Everything she touches is creative gold. Jamie is one of those artists who I feel is truly living in creative freedom. She made the decision to leave the comforts of the USA to live a quiet life fully dedicated to her art. And from an outside perspective, I’d say, taking that risk has paid off. Her work is absolutely captivating. Being able to follow along on Jamie’s artistic journey is so good for my soul. I dream of having the same opportunity one day and until that day comes, I am crossing my fingers and toes that Jamie will offer a workshop in Provence because I will be the first one to sign up!
Thank you for sharing your life and creativity with us, Jamie. You have made the world a more beautiful and interesting place with your art.
What do you think of Jamie’s work?! Have you sold all your posessions to go live a life in France, yet? No? Just me? Ha! Tell me your thoughts on this Instagram post here.