nervousmotion artworks blog

The Tempest/Bedroom at Arles

In Mysteries of the Rectangle, Siri Hustvedt writes about the first painting she saw that she really truly connected with – Giorgione‘s The Tempest, which she first viewed in a college art history course. It’s a truly marvelous and fantastical (both in that it is truly excellent and dreamlike) painting, and its meaning is still unclear to critics and art historians.

For me, I can also pinpoint the first painting I saw that truly sparked something inside me – the first image that made me say “That. I want to do that. I want to be an artist,” though for me it’s much more mundane than strange nude ladies breastfeeding in a thunderstorm. For me, the first artist whose images truly grabbed me was Vincent Van Gogh and the first image I saw that made me want to create art was The Bedroom at Arles. More than the more dramatic paintings or the more direct self-portraits, it was this little interior, a self-portrait of space, that sparked the artistic fuse inside me.

I am continually captivated by interiors. I have whole boxes full of rooms cut out from various home decorating magazines that are just waiting to be filled with strange and exotic elements.  I enjoy creating rooms wherein odd figures play out their stories.  I remember first seeing this painting in art class sometime in elementary school – I couldn’t have been more than nine years old, but it stuck with me. The colors, to repeat a cliché, spoke to me. It looked like a room that was truly lived in, a room with a life and a story of its own. And something about that room made me want to tell my own stories – visually. Something about this room made me realize that I had, even at that age, stories to tell.  I remember being twelve and declaring that I was going to be an artist when I grew up and being roundly mocked by my peers because I couldn’t even draw very well.

I still can’t draw very well, but that doesn’t stop me from telling these same stories over and over again.


[This one is mine and it’s called “Flight From the Bedroom”]


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