Air travel will never look the same.
Frequent flier Nina Katchadourian found a spark of inspiration when she locked herself in airplane lavatory on a long flight and transformed herself into 15th century-style Flemish portraits with only the items she had at hand.
“While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010″, Katchadourian explains how she “spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over [her] head and took a picture in the mirror using [a] cellphone. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture.”
Hence, “Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style” were born and became a part of a larger series called “Seat Assignment,” “which is based on improvising with materials close at hand while in-flight.”
When discussing the perimeters of her larger project, Katchadourian explains, “the rules of engagement are that I only work with what I naturally have with me and what I find on the plane. I’m not allowed to bring complicated props and things that skew the project too much towards something that I may as well have just made in a studio. So it’s important to work within the limitations of the airplane’s space and with materials that are part of that environment. And then, of course, I take stuff in my carry-on bag. I take things to read and snacks to eat and things like that and those are also fair game. But I’m trying to keep myself pretty strictly limited to things I would normally have with me.”
“Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style”
Katchadourian is no rookie when it comes to finding creative inspiration in everyday life. As a Californian-born New York transplant, the contemporary artist works in a wide variety of media, including photography, sculpture, video and sound. Her work has been exhibited domestically and internationally at places such as PS1/MoMA, the Serpentine Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, Turner Contemporary, Artists Space, SculptureCenter, and the Palais de Tokyo (just to name a few).
Bathroom Lessons Roundtrip
There are some great takeaways from this project:
- Have fun. It’s okay to enjoying being playful with your work.
- Try setting ‘rules of engagement’ when looking for inspiration. Set some guidelines and see how creative you can get within specific parameters.
- Be sure to think outside your normal environment – you never know where a spark of inspiration will take you. Run with it when it sets aflame.
- Oh, and the next time to need a little inspiration, look no further then the closest lavatory, but be sure to wash your hands.
To check out more from the “Seat Assignment” series, check out Katchadourian’s website here.
I cannot wait to play with this on my next long flight.
Until Next Time . . .
Stay Inspired ~ Jules