January is quickly on its way out, isn’t it? Seems as thought the speedy pace of last year hasn’t slowed down a bit. Still, I’d like to take a look in the rear-view mirror and highlight some things that inspired me in 2015.
Books: The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean
2015 was a rare year in that I didn’t read nearly as much as I normally do. Fortunately, this fantasy/steampunk caught my eye. The tale of a tough street girl and a dandified assassin was a fun break in the midst of a lot of work last year. Definitely recommended, full review here.
Movies: Selma, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ex Machina
Sure, blockbusters like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World made all the money, but I had more satisfying experiences at other films. (Although I enjoyed the aforementioned as well.) Selma was a deeply moving film about a piece of history that I’d heard of so many times, but never felt before. And boy, did I feel that movie. Excellent work in all areas of filmmaking. And much has been said about Mad Max already. I can’t comment on the supposed feminism of the film, but I can say it was a visually hallucinogenic experience I haven’t encountered since the original Matrix. And that, my friends, is high praise. Lastly there’s Ex Machina, an all around terrific film that digs deep into the question of intelligence vs humanity while retaining both humor and tense storytelling. Full review here.
Television: Jessica Jones
I DVR more shows than I can keep up with, so I haven’t finished The Player or Blindspot, and I haven’t even started on Into the Badlands or The Shannara Chronicles yet. And while the Blacklist and Agents of Shield remained worth watching, one show from last year held my complete attention from start to finish, and that was Jessica Jones. Sure, it’s not without its flaws, but I was impressed once more with the risk Marvel took in the Netflix deal, starting with the superb Daredevil. Jones is a complete different show, but the excellence continued in the dark, eerie tale of a woman and her abuser, both of whom happen to have superpowers. If Netflix continues like this, viewers might start to wonder why they need to go the cinema for their superhero fix. Full review here.
Music: Jasmine Sullivan, The Weekend, Adele, Miguel, Alessia Cara
Nearly everyone has a soundtrack to their life. You know, the songs you play when you drive, when you work out, when you feel down, etc. My musical tastes have grown increasingly more eclectic as I’ve matured, so I’m more of a sampler than a follower of artists as in the past. While my playlist runs heavy with my favorite artists, (Bat For Lashes, Sade, Fever Ray, Maxwell, Janelle Monae, Lourde), I’m always open to new sounds from artists whose sound I find intriguing. This year some of those sounds included Jasmine Sullivan’s lush throwback Let It Burn, Earn It by The Weekend, Hello by Adele (naturally) and Here by Alessia Cara, among others. Music is a bit too much to discuss in a single paragraph, but those are some highlights of an intriguing musical year.
Photography: Brooke Shaden
The evolution of photography continues to amaze me as technology has caught up with the imagination, meaning there are no limits to what can be accomplished creatively. In this manner Brooke Shaden is a constant inspiration, as she captures dreams and surreal fever dreams on film. Though there are artists that do similar work, her art stands out because she simply has an eye for the perfect shot that is second to none.
Art: Eve Ventrue
Where do I start? Art is completely intertwined with writing for me, so I am constantly perusing through different artists for inspiration and personal enjoyment. But if I have to single out one individual artist whose work continues to amaze, I’d shout out the name Eve Ventrue. Her speculative art is stunning, combining elements of modern with Renaissance, as featured in the pic above. Art speaks for itself, and if a picture is worth a thousand words then Eve Ventrue should have you speaking in tongues.
Inspiration is everywhere to me, and I’m just a sponge that soaks it all in. What about you? What things inspired you from the previous year, or this young year for that matter? I’d love to know!
My name is Bard Constantine, and if you’re reading this you already know that Bard Writes Books.