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Studio Magazine

Points of Inspiration: A Day with Lorna Simpson

Studio Museum

On March 30th, 2013 artist Lorna Simpson (b. 1960) welcomed the Expanding the Walls (ETW) artists to her Fort Greene, Brooklyn studio for a day of experimentation. As we’re halfway through the 2013 program, the young artists have encountered many points of inspiration generated from countless sources. This particular interaction provided fascinating results that reflected the diverse perspectives of this ETW group.

“…it’s more about [my] experience and the process of making things.”—Lorna Simpson

For the day, our "lab" was a mirrored set intended to create duplicated images of a subject—like a hall of mirrors, an exaggerated vanity room or a surreal environment that allows for an interaction with five reflections of oneself. This intricate set was used in producing Simpson’s latest body of work. Instead of destroying the set immediately after its initial purpose, Simpson thought it would be wonderful to share with Expanding the Walls.

And what a magical experience it was—the students paired up and took turns making portraits of each other in the mirrored set, under Simpson’s guidance. Through the process of working with Simpson, the artists developed skills for directing a portrait session with live models. This activity also touched upon some of what has been discussed during our sessions, such as Surrealist photography and the manipulation of images without digital editing.

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