A Letter From The Editor: Issue 4

I’m sitting on my back porch watching the yellow sky turn pink then blue as May slowly burns into June. I can hear a dog barking somewhere but can’t pinpoint how far or exactly where. The crickets are beginning to chirp, and the air is so still that I can hear the brushing of leaves against each other in the trees that line my yard 60 feet away. I’ve been awarded almost twenty uninterrupted minutes to melt into my chair and simply sit.

I look down at my arm as a mosquito lands and I stare seconds at its long legs before brushing it away. An itch on my leg lingers for a whole ten breaths before I reach down and scratch it. I slowly blink, and open my eyes to a lightning bug in the field ahead of me turning on for the night. My sight adjusts to the night turning black and the color is slowly pulled away from everything in the gray haze of dusk.

Moments like these have always been my fuel. When gasping for air and drowning in life, I pull up a chair with Mother Nature and make friends with the moon. I reconnect with the natural world, and I try my best to pool inspiration from the collective phenomena of my physical surrounding. In other words, I’m outdoorsy.

For those who don’t use flora and fauna to spark inspiration, it can be sure that there is a particular go-to method that ignites their ingenuity. Inspiration can be found anywhere and in this issue, we gathered together a group of people who realized early on what fueled their fire and they spent their lives stoking that flame.

When Peregrine Honig was just two years old, her artistic practice was immortalized in a psychological study on creativity and childhood development. As a 22-year-old, she became the youngest living artist to have work acquired by The Whitney Museum of American Art. We profiled her wunderkind legacy.

Sam Grawe grew through an editorial and design career choosing one strategic move after the next—all inspired by modern design. Those mindful choices led him to the pinnacle post he holds today as global brand director for Herman Miller. Drew Holcomb has been writing songs for the Americana songbook in Tennessee since college. He’s a steadfast example of a hardworking artist inspired by joy and suffering equally as they come.

Artist Lyndon Barrois Jr.’s work is a meditation on the mundane—an exploration of what we look at every day and why we should peer a little closer. Juxtaposing high and low, Barrois notices and exploits the complexities of pop culture. In every issue we share an inspired recipe and speak with a Middle America chef about their practice. This month is no different, but this chef stands out among most. An immigrant from Israel, Ben Poremba has had an entrepreneurial spirit since the age of 17 when he arrived in the Midwest. Not unlike Poremba, artist José Lerma has not always called this country home.

This Spanish artist, now living and working in Chicago, is interested in exploring culture in America and the way thought is shaped by political and business practices. The creative canon is filled with artists producing from all kinds of inspiration, whether it be food, fine art or even facial serums (Julie Longyear). Inspiration lives in every object and every moment. It’s sitting there, waiting to be needed.

The gray haze of dusk has turned to pitch black and it’s time to go inside for the night. As I slip on my shoes, I shift in my chair and turn my head in the direction of a rhythmic “hoo-hoo-ha-hooo” in the distance. An owl is calling to a friend. I stand up and hum the rhythm to myself. I imagine drums tapping to the beat and a melody begins to unfold in my mind. I pick up my pace and walk inside to find a pen. A new song begins to form, and as I smile to myself—inspired—I silently thank my muse.

Love,
Rachel

Connect with me on Instagram and Twitter. Who are the creatives you’ve discovered recently? What are you doing to nourish a creative practice? I’d love to hear from you.

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Photo by Attilio D’Agostino.

This letter originally appeared in ALIVE Issue 4, 2017. Purchase Issue 4 and become an ALIVE member to receive free artisan gifts from makers throughout the heartland, six print issues per year and other perks. Sign up for only $8.

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