The topic of home is something both very important and complicated in creative industries. One’s home is often fundamental to one’s inspiration and even after leaving home, parts of one’s creativity will always be tied to these influences.
For many, university exists as this liminal space where you exist separately, but not quite independently from your home. With regards to creativity, this can be an extremely difficult time when your points of reference and sources of inspiration are left behind. What often happens is that this period often becomes very reflective. In an attempt to reconcile the loss of creative energy that results from leaving home, turning back to the influences of where you come from is a very natural and common response of many creatives.
In the fashion industry, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most prominent examples of an artist drawing influence from his home. Born in Oran, Algeria, Saint Laurent moved to Paris at the age of seventeen to work for Christian Dior before starting his own eponymous collection at twenty-five. Throughout his career, Saint Laurent reflected on Northern African culture, styles, and “annexed, transformed, and adapted them” for use in his unique collections.
Inspiration from one’s home can draw on all of these tangible things: sights, smells, fabrics, however, sometimes the concept of home transcends physicality.
In my own experience, home has never been associated with material things from a single location. I’ve spent my entire life in flux. My childhood and early adolescence was spent between two drastically different places: Boston, an urban American city, and Glandore, a rural Irish fishing village. Growing up I never prioritized one place or the other in terms of how I valued each milieu as a home, but because of how vastly unalike Boston and Glandore are, I never had a single point of physical reference to draw from for inspiration. What was born from this disparity was my concept of home being an energy that oscillates depending on where I am both physically and emotionally. While my surroundings were constantly changing, what remained constant was the creative atmosphere that my family constructed around me.
Creativity has always existed on a pedestal, regardless of what household I occupied. I have been fortunate enough to have been raised by three artists: my mother, my father, and my grandmother. Throughout my life, these three forces have come together to ensure that my inspirational and artistic appetites were always being fed. It is this nourishment that became my association with the word home, and it is this idea that I have taken with me since leaving my family. I left for boarding school at fifteen, then at eighteen I decided to spend my freshman year of university abroad in Paris, and then finally, a year later, I moved to New York. Every place I have lived since Boston and Glandore has become “home” once I find something or someone that facilitates this creative energy.
Settling down somewhere new isn’t easy, especially when you still feel tied to some former idea of home, be that a physical entity or an energy. Often you have to find and develop new methods of being creative. Creativity is incredibly adaptable and malleable. It can come from many different places, and finding new forms of inspiration when you leave home, doesn’t mean losing those you originally had.
In an interview with Dirk Standen, former Yves Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane discusses how his two homes, Paris and Los Angeles, have influenced him. Silmane was born and raised in Paris and he identifies the diversity and the street culture as being hugely important for him, saying he always wants to keep these things with him in his design. Despite this tethering to Paris, Slimane is based in Los Angeles finding that the city facilitates his creative process more than Paris. Slimane notes that there is a great deal of duality to his creativity in regard to his relationship with Paris and Los Angeles; they influence him symbiotically.
Personally, I think that part of growing up and leaving home is realizing that it is possible to both be nostalgic for your childhood or family home, and simultaneously develop new habits and routines. In fact, sometimes leaving home is what allows you have perspective on the influences that you absorbed there. This nostalgia can be a vital part of fuelling your creativity, however, it can also stifle the construction of new inspirational conduits. So, while it is important to reflect and draw influence from previous homes, artistic exploration and innovation in your new one is equally important.