Visual artist Marian Bantjes's lecture explores peculiar aspects of inspiration

Courtesy of Marian Bantjes
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BY HEATHER POOLE
Daily Arts Writer
Published March 15, 2010

Inspiration can strike from disparate sources. Cross-disciplinary artist Marian Bantjes explores this curious aspect of inspiration and how it can be derived from seemingly unlikely places that span across a vast number of interests.

Marian Bantjes: "The Cross-Pollination of Inspiration"


Thursday at 5:10 p.m.
Michigan Theater

As part of the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series, Bantjes will be speaking this Thursday about her past work and experiences that led to her status as an internationally recognized visual artist.

In her lecture, Bantjes attempts to clarify the idea of inspiration, emphasizing "the difference between inspiration, influence and reference material (and) … the importance of creative work in society."

Bantjes credits much of the inspiration behind her work as a derived from various, seemingly disparate sources. The main focus and title of her lecture is a concept she calls the "cross-pollination of inspiration."

“It’s how I get my ideas from other disciplines,” she added. “It’s about how creativity is this … universal thing that gets seeds of inspiration from all sorts of disciplines.”

As part of her explanation of cross-pollination, Bantjes emphasized the influence of other subjects in her own work and consequently how her work may influence other professionals in different fields of study.

“I get ideas all the time from all sorts of different sources, so it’s very magical in the way that happens,” Bantjes said. “The things that inspire me are not always visual.

“I’m inspired by the things that I read, films that I see, music that I hear and books that I read, so in the same way … my work may inspire a scientist or a playwright or a philosopher and that, in turn, might be a seed that … makes something that inspires somebody else in another discipline,” she added.

Known for her highly ornate vector art and eye-catching graphic design, Bantjes’s work has been featured in magazines, book covers, posters and advertisements. Some of her most famous work includes her designs for GQ and New York Times Magazine. She has also worked for Saks Fifth Avenue in their ad campaigns.

Currently, Bantjes is writing a book called “I Wonder” to be released this fall. She will briefly discuss her book at the lecture.

“(‘I Wonder’) is about looking at the world in a way of wonder, of looking at the world visually and getting a sort of joyous visual perspective on the things that we see around us,” Bantjes said.

In addition to her focus on both her personal inspiration and her theory of cross-pollination, Bantjes hopes to impart a sense of confidence to students interested in pursuing a career in art.

“I hope (the students) will walk away with the idea that doing really good imaginative work actually matters in the world, that aesthetics aren’t something superfluous, that they’re important,” she said.

“In a lot of the world, there is … this idea that aesthetic work is frivolous and I don’t think it is at all,” she added. “So I want (the students) to understand that and feel emboldened and confident that they can work visually, and that it does make a difference.”