The Muse as Artist

According to Greek mythology The Muses, who were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne,  were the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. A muse is also a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for an artist. Many famous artists have depended on their muse for their inspiration including Picasso (Marie-Thérèse Walter), Henri Matisse (Lydia Delectorskaya) Alfred Stieglitz (Georgia O’Keeffe) and Rankin (Tuuli Shipster AKA “Mrs Rankin”).

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Pablo Picasso’s muse Marie-Thérèse Walter served as the inspiration for his 1932 painting “La Rêve.”

Back in 2009 the Wall Street Journal published an article Where Have All the Muses Gone? where its author, Lee Siegler, wondered why the term muse seemed to have “thinned out” and concluded:

“These days a muse’s role as equal partner and/or equal talent now outweighs her or his function as inspiration. Who, in our proudly individualistic culture wants to feel like a valet to someone else’s imagination?”

Who indeed? Here’s another explanation. The modern day muse has not only ditched her artistic collaborator as a source of inspiration but creates her (and it does seem to be mainly women) own art using her own inspiration and own body. Modern day muses not only have their own vision of the art they want to make but also set about creating it with or without an artist in tow. Here are five muses who have certainly done away with needing an artist for inspiration and in some cases for executing their vision as well. Check out their art and draw inspiration from it whether you are an artist or a muse.

Cindy Sherman: Pretty much all of Cindy Sherman’s work has involved her photographing herself playing the roles of characters from fiction, history or her own imagination. She has created a body of work like no other where she is both the muse as well as the photographer.

Ellie Lane Imagery: Ellie describes herself as an “art model/photographer hybrid” and is an example of the person I describe above. One who has an artistic vision of what she wants to create and also photographs it herself.

Jen Brook: Jen’s strapline is “I consider myself an artist trapped inside the body of one who cannot paint… so instead, I model…”. Just like Ellie, Jen uses herself in the art she envisions and works with teams of creatives to develop and build that vision. Check out her Dreamcatcher work.

Kyle Thompson: According to Viral Nova this young photographers anxiety prevented him from talking to people, so he opted to experiment with self-portraits. He spent hours, even days, walking alone through forests and exploring abandoned houses. After taking hundreds of photos, he posted some of his best to Reddit. From there, his life changed forever.

SINderella  Rockafella: Maybe at one level Ms Rockafella is ‘just’ another pinup model however she has taken the pinup art form to new levels and created a look like no other. Whilst she may depend on photographers to actually record the image (and I have tried) the way she goes about creating the many persona’s she has is truly remarkable and her images a joy to behold.

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