english blog

my assignment Mental Map for CalArts course Live! Art History

It is the second assignment for Cal Arts course at coursera. The whole course is called Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers. Each week we have materials to study and assignments to do.

The first assignment was also very interesting, I think of posting it here as well.

The second assignment is Mental Map

“In your sketchbook, assemble ten (10) images, books, films, or even music/songs that provide a history and context for your current work or interests in art, animation and/or gaming, whether as a practitioner, viewer or player/participant. Choose works that are important to the way you think, and just as importantly, works that inspire you in ways that you can’t always perhaps put into words. Reach back into your childhood (where you may perhaps find some unexpected sources of inspiration) and look around you to collect some contemporary resources”

I felt that my blog will be the most convenient way to expose my assignment as it appeared to be quite big.  Also it is comfortable for me to take care of source links and to organise the layout.

1. Pink Floyd “the Wall”


I mean both the movie and the record.

I had a VHS with the movie. I remember watching it for the first time. It was mind twisting. Then I re-watched it for more than 20-30 times, I guess.

Each time I discovered something new, some idea, some thought. As I was growing up different pieces of this epic work touched my heart like a hot iron. First of all, like all rebellious teens I muse enjoyed “We don’t need no education”, then the love theme caught my attention, then the society and individual controversy, then the role and influence of mother.

Doing this assignment I came to conclusion that I need to watch it once again after maybe 7 years break.


2. J.R.R. Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings”


Low bow to they book, to Professor and to my mother for my love to reading. My mom read pieces of “The Lord of the Rings” to me and my little sister before sleeping time. But she read in little pieces – she was tired after work and we needed to sleep too. I was too curious to wait, I wanted to know what will happen next, so I grabbed the book and tried reading in on my own. It was a huge impact. That’s how I fell in love with fantasy and and imagined worlds. And with books in general. Books are like diamonds for me. Now I have a very wide range of interests in literature, but that book will always be a fire-starter.

3. A hall with Egypt mummies in the Art Museum in Moscow



(it went together with many books on Egypt and a movie Mummy)

During my school years I was obsessed with mythology of different cultures. Egypt was one of fascinations with all the mummies, gods with animal heads, river Nile, cults, pyramids, pictorial written language. My mom took me to museum quite often, usually we visited once in a month Art museum and once Museum of East. Everywhere I had favourite places. In Art Museum it was an Egypt hall. I could spend hours there just watching on the exhibit items.


4. A hall with Japanese classic art in the Museum of East in Moscow




(it went together with a bunch of books concerning Japanese art, culture and history

I even wrote a paper on Shinto traditions on the 1st year in the university)

Japanese art was my another obsession. Thus the Museum of East was my second favourite. They had a full armour set of samurai, several katana swords, little figures, an installation of a tea hose for ceremony. I write all this and my heart pounds while memories unfold. Here I could also spend hours paying close attention to all the tiniest details.


5. Garlands of Fantasy: The Art of Linda and Roger Garland



I suppose it will be the last thing from a childhood benchmarks. It is an art book of two artists – husband and wife – who were making art together. It fascinated me, how they both were talented and dedicated. How they made art for Tolkien books, how it differed from my own images of Middle earth in my mind, and how they did other works like paintings and a Tarot desk. But the thing I loved the most – and it was mind-blowing thing for a school girl living in a huge city in a block house apartment – those artists made their living place, their studio and gallery in an old barn building. It was more than a dream for me. It was something unbelievable.

Their site is here.

6. Austin Kleon “Steal like an Artist” and “Show your work”


So here we go to modern references which define my work now. I don’t really remember how exactly I discovered Austin’s work. I just did. A friend of mine gave me a book, then I got my own copy. What I like about Austin Kleon views is that he really shows you that it is ok for you to be proud of what you do. That ideas can’t really be a property, ideas are being re-born and developed, they change, they excite you, they make you go on. Since I first read his book, I started to feel myself comfortable with the idea that art and my life are actually interwined.

Amazon links to Steal like an artist and Show your work.

7. Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman unique collaboration as a couple and art-makers 


I can’t really separate those two from each other, them as persons from their art. First I was a big fan of Neil Gaiman imaginary tales and stories. He is truly a Magician. Then I fell in love with music of Dresden Dolls and learnt who Amanda Palmer was. Then they became a couple and continued being double inspirational. “Make good art” from Neal and “stop pretending art is hard” from Amanda became my mottos.


8. “Where wild things are” movie and Maurice Sendak art


I remember the first time I watched the movie, I thought it will be a “light-watching”. Instead I was crying my eyes off. Of course I was at home, alone and a bit sick, but anyway the message of the movies was so intense and painful. It made me rethink many things again. I learned that Maurice Sendak is kind of legend of children fiction in States. Surprisingly I is still mostly unknown in Russia, which is a pity.


9. Photography of Annie Leibovitz and Irving Penn

I have got many names to mention who influenced my vision as a photographer. But those two are the biggest for me. Nothing to say, their works speak for themselves. I just want to say them – thank you for being and making all that. It is truly inspiring.


Gallery for Penn


Gallery for Leibovitz


Recent work of Annie which shows art-makers whom I respect to no end for many reasons.




10. Rainy barn wedding

That I will call a brilliant piece of wedding art, before that I never thought that there is such a thing as touching wedding film. Now I do wedding videos myself, because this video by very talented Paperbackweddings studio made me believe that it is possible.

Now I will stop myself. At first it was hard to think of things for that list. Then it was hard to choose among everything I remembered. I cheated when spoke of 2 in 1, but well… there were no other option to make this list complete.

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