Archive

Research

Breakthrough! Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination, Image courtesy Alex Cornell and Princeton Architectural Press.

I read this article today and it seemed like maybe all my creativity problems would be solved if I bought this book. But then I went onto The Great Discontent and read like 5,000,000 interviews with people who make excellent work. One might call this being “sidetracked” but I’m just going to call it “research.”

Last week I was on Wikipedia reading up on the Taj Mahal. Sometime over the weekend I decided that I’m going to go to India. Not a small trip, or a small country. Needing some guidance from the interwebs, I started reading up on places you must visit in India. Common sense would indicate I could ask AA, who is FROM India, but at the time, the New York Times would do.

I’m convinced half of the forum is spammers, but then I stumbled across Comment #53:

53.
Go to India because it makes you a better traveler. Nothing will test your patience more then an Indian rickshaw drivers. I just completed my second trip to India and I will definitely be returning, even though everything I’m there I wonder why I didn’t just stay home or do something disgusting like go to Florida.
— Sue, Manhattan NYC

Despite the blatant typo of “everything” when it should have said “every time”, I still lol’d when I read it. It’s probably truthful too. I don’t think India is probably an “easy” trip.

Immediately after deciding I am going to plan a solo trip to India, I read on the State Department’s website “U.S. citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India.” While weighing the options of doing something vs. not doing something, I decided I have dark hair and am 75% sure that I have been mistaken for being Northern Indian at least twice in my life. These odds mean I have deemed it safe for me to travel alone to India.

I’ll see you in March.

Just kidding. This intelligent being also decided August would be the only month in 2012 in which I would be available to go away for more than a few days. Do you know how hot it is in India in August? Not as hot as July. But still. This trip is already full of intelligence.

Before taking off for Vegas, I told the girls while we were having gin martinis at the airport bar, that I had spent part of the week reading up on the Kennedys on Wikipedia, with special interest in Jackie O. and John Jr. Erin sat up straight “Oh, Elle!” she cried. I think maybe because she has a sixth sense about my interest in mortality and knew that I was about to talk about John Jr. crashing the plane because of spatial disorientation. She probably also cried out to shut me the fuck up before I terrified everyone in the bar. Anyway, at the mention of the wonders of Wikipedia, AS said, “yeah, Wikipedia is addicting. You click on one thing, and you can be there for hours.”

I spent this morning doing this:

Started with researching all of Frank Lloyd Wright’s existing works that are open to the public.

From the list I went to each individual main page, and also opened up Google Maps to locate where most of the Middle America sites are.

[This all happened because yesterday I read about the Park Inn Hotel being restored in Mason City and got all hot and bothered at the idea of driving out to Iowa, staying in said hotel, and then driving to Chicago and Oberlin to see more FLW sites, and taking a pit stop outside of Pittsburgh to see Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.]

Fallingwater is for sure the most notable of all the Frank Lloyd Wright designs that were on this Middle America list I made. Naturally I was also interested in who these Kaufmann folks were who had initiated the project.

Finding out that there was nothing very spectacular or controversial about them, I went to view The Kaufmann House, designed by Richard Neutra, both on Wikipedia and the LA Times article that was published in 2007 when the house went up for sale. And naturally I had to research Richard Neutra too.

From there, there was a foray into Julius Shulman, John Lautner, The Chemosphere, the LA Times article on the Chemosphere and Benedikt Taschen, and Dr. Robert F. Kuhn who was murdered in the Chemosphere in 1976 (which landed me here).

In the heat of the moment I somehow got swept back up into Richard Neutra and got onto Architectural Digest.

The whirlwind research resulted in a purchase of a three year subscription to Architectural Digest, and then convincing myself that I might as well reorder PRINT for another 2 years too since I am, after all, a designer.

None of this was a complete waste of time. I also made this map for our FLW Grand Slam Middle America Architecture Road Trip:

By “our” I mean HAC and I. We plan on this happening in June 2012. BAM. Thanks Wikipedia, yourethebest. Now all I need is for Google to find me another week of vacation time before I start school in 11 days. Kthanksbai.