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Finding Inspiration In Contrasts
By: Tom Roarty
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As a creative, one of the hardest tasks is to find inspiration on a daily basis. It is not that we do not seek out inspiration, but more of the way we harness it. As most people will get pleasure passing the same icons on a daily basis, people who are creative for a living will find a way to mine that inspiration and seek out the next emotion-invoking vision we can draw from, like a scrap-metal collector in a junkyard. However, there are times that that we come across things that move us in such a profound way that it changes our way of thinking. At least until we grow numb to the vision and start seeking out our next creative fix.
When we are inspired in such a way, it only makes sense to celebrate it. Designers know how hard it is to be creative on a daily basis, and for many in the field, it is hard to be impressed or inspired by skills we have in common. It is kind of like being shown a card trick, but knowing how it is done is very anti-climatic to say the least. For me, inspiration hit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York this past weekend — at the Quay Brothers exhibit, to be exact.
For those of you who are not familiar with their work, Stephen and Timothy Quay (who are identical twin brothers) are among history's most renowned stop-motion animation artists. Although their work is dark and edgy and not too often seen by the commercial world, their influence hides in the shadows of other creatives. Most notably was the 1993 video for “Sober” by the progressive metal band Tool, which was directed by Fred Stuhr. Although The Brothers Quay were not involved in the project directly, their influence was an undeniable catalyst.
The exhibit at MoMA included a wide variety of their film works, including stage designs, character development, and sketches. Each section of the show burrowed deeper into the complexity of their art, revealing a process both surface smooth and underlying complex. It is only the second show that The Brothers Quay headlined on their own in New York, the first of which was hosted by Parsons the New School for Design in 2010.
Is the world ready for a commercial adaptation based on the works of The Brothers Quay? Probably not. These days advertising tends to appeal to the mind of the masses. Whereas the work of the Quay brothers is more soul piercing. This does not mean that the style of their work cannot be adapted for a more mainstream influence; it just means that their work has to be polished for the masses. However, for a true tap into some influential creativity in all of its raw form, I highly recommend becoming acquainted with the work of The Brothers Quay and see if it can stir some deep-rooted emotions. It is such a practice that allows us to grow as creatives, no matter what type of media or clients we are designing for.

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