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Famous artists and their recipes for good luck

Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People

Creatives obsess with how other successful creators do their work. Witness the 2013 bestseller Daily Rituals by Mason Currey.

But instead of focusing on the productive habits of successful artists, author Ellen Weinstein highlights their oddities.

Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People

Her book Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People contains some fascinating and funny habits.

  • Thom Yorke prepares for live concerts with a headstand ritual
  • NASA engineers eat peanuts before every launch as a lucky charm
  • Picasso held on to his fingernail clippings to maintain his spiritual “essence”
  • Frida Kahlo painted plants and flowers from her desk, looking over her garden
Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People
Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People

Creative people can be a bit superstitious, to say the least. As Seth Godin likes to say, “we’re all weird.”

Whatever you do to keep your edge, do it.

All images courtesy Chronicle Books

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Quotes

Picasso: ‘Go and do the things you can’t. That is how you get to do them’

Picasso plays the trumpet

“Go and do the things you can’t. That is how you get to do them.”

Pablo Picasso

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Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy

The placebo effect of a good luck charm

NASA engineers eat peanuts before every launch as a lucky charm. Picasso held on to his fingernail clippings to maintain his spiritual “essence.”

You can more read about artists and their peculiar amulets in Ellen Weinstein’s new book Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People.

Why do some creators hold onto some strange and unique amulets?

The primary reason for holding on to such talismanic devices is to establish an aura of positivity. As artists, the muse sometimes works against you, wanting you to fail or hide. Hanging on to or wearing an object of fortune allays those fears and sets the tone for confident action.

Elle photographer Gilles Bensimon likes to surround his photo shoots with items from his collection. You can see them on display at the Gobbie Fine Art gallery in New York. Writes Quartz:

Crafted from found objects—string and bottle caps from Phuket, a cracked mask from Venice, a piece of sea glass from Long Island, New York—the 74-year-old celebrity photographer uses them to ward off bad vibes on his set.

But lucky charms go beyond the workplace and creative endeavors. They also have everyday importance.

Everyone needs some type of pacifier to calm down, whether it’s the lucky necklace, rock, or prayer they cling onto before takeoff. These items act as security blankets, placebos, and in doing so, instill the confidence to proceed.

As they say, let go (or rather hang on) and let God…

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Arts

Figurative illustrations of Picasso’s work by Omar Aqil

Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil1

Graphic artist Omar Aqil creates 3D artwork out of Picasso’s paintings.

Says Aqil, “Still exploring the Picasso’s work and trying to add some more drama to it.”

Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil3
Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil
Figurative illustrations by Omar Aqil2

See more of his amazing work on Behance.

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Arts Creativity Quotes

‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. He would paint over work that didn’t meet up with his expectations.

Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It subtracts the gray space in the middle and renders it black and white.

Simplicity comes from revision

Simplicity retains the essence and deletes the rest. Take a look at the sequence of Picasso’s drawing of a bull. He pairs down the bull from full detail down to its fundamental shape.

picasso bulls head #creativity #drawing #art

Once we remove the excess, we can retain what’s essential. But the final result appears intuitive because all the explaining was done in its reduction.

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Arts Creativity Daily Prompts Psychology Video

Picasso: Art as a form of diary

picasso #art #artist #painting
Photo by Cecil Beaton 1933 © The Cecil Beaton Archive at Sotheby’s

Art is where our mind’s eye merges with reality to create a theater inside our head, resulting in the form of a diary. This was especially true for Pablo Picasso.

Picasso was perhaps best known for his practice of public journaling via painting. “My work is my diary. I have painted my autobiography,” he said.

Picasso grasped his inner thoughts and projected them on canvass. His art gave us a peek inside his head, such as his relationship with partner Marie-Thérèse Walter in his formative years.

picasso tate modern #museum #art
‘The Dream’ (1932) Private collection © Succession Picasso/DACS London

Art is therapy

Art is an instrument for coping, part mental therapy part expression. Bottling his thoughts without letting them go would’ve driven Picasso insane. Whether it is painting, writing, or playing sports, we exercise our bodies to verify that we’re still alive.

As Picasso and so many other artists illustrate, self-expression has a real and irresistible pulse.

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