The Unexpected Power of Imagination

Recently I learned about a fellow alumni of my college study abroad program (IHP), Janet Echelman.  Echelmen makes phenomenal, jaw dropping works of public art.  Through her art, she has collaborated with engineers and scientists to pioneer new materials that allow for a style of art that has never been seen before.  Check out one of her recent pieces in Pheonix, Arizona:

Her Secret is Patience

This piece is made using gigantic poles and netting.  The netting stretches 100 feet tall and the piece hovers 38 feet above the ground. It’s massive!!  This idea of making art using netting is so original and innovative, it’s a total result of the power of imagination that often arises during times of chaos or uncertainty.

Echelmen was a painter in her earlier days as an artist.  She spent time in India and was given some kind of grant to hold an art show, but her paints never arrived.  Searching for a way to create art without her conventional tools, she noticed the fishermen winding their nets on the shore where she was staying.  She was struck with the idea of making art from nets; thus was  born an entirely new career that has placed her in the spotlight of an international public art movement!

As an artist, this is exactly the kind of story that inspires me.  Echelmen adapted to her unexpected circumstances and opened herself to a new way of creating.  I really admire this skill, and as evidenced by her work, this kind of adaptable attitude can often lead one to greater heights than ever expected!  You can find a cool TED talk by her here.



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