How Do You Dream Up A Cockatoo Feast? An Artist Explains In 'Imaginarium' Looking at Claire Rosen's photographs can feel like walking into someone else's dreams. In her new book Imaginarium she provides inspiration and advice for curating a creative life.
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How Do You Dream Up A Cockatoo Feast? An Artist Explains In 'Imaginarium'

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How Do You Dream Up A Cockatoo Feast? An Artist Explains In 'Imaginarium'

How Do You Dream Up A Cockatoo Feast? An Artist Explains In 'Imaginarium'

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LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Looking at Claire Rosen's photographs can feel like walking into someone else's dreams.

CLAIRE ROSEN: I have a very sort of whimsical, surreal view of the world that is deeply rooted in magic and fairy tales and this idea of archetypes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Her fantastical images feature things like toy horses in flight or turtles enjoying a sumptuous feast as if at their own Last Supper. Even though she's only in her early 30s, Rosen has had a successful career as both a fine art and commercial photographer. Her new book "Imaginarium," seeks to help people forge their own path as artists, starting with finding their inspiration which for her began in childhood.

ROSEN: When I looked back at the things I was doing in my childhood and the things that I cared about then, they really imprinted this aesthetic on me that is carried through my work. For example, I spent a lot of time at the museum of natural history when I was little, in New York. And, you know, my mom jokes that I would cry when we had to leave because I wanted to crawl into the dioramas with the animals and stay there. And we would go to the Met frequently, and I would get lost in those paintings.

And even recently, you know, I thought I was very original with my animal feast project. And I dug up a bunch of my childhood books, and there all these wonderful children's illustrations of animals eating dinner and having parties and carrying on in anthropomorphic ways. And I thought, you know, I am not being particularly original. I saw this when I was 5 years old. And I find that if you look at a lot of artists' work and a lot of just innovative people, their childhoods have left such - I think we all - our childhoods have left an impression and an imprint in terms of what we care about and what we do in our adult lives.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This book is for photographers. But there is something there for anyone who wants to be creative. What advice do you have for someone like me or our listeners who want to find inspiration?

ROSEN: Sure. I think that it's amazing if you can take control of curating the imput of your life that you are actively seeking out knowledge and information and experiences that are interesting. I think it's very easy to get sucked into a very busy, monotonous work life. And, you know, when you get home and you want to unwind, all you want to do is sit down and watch Netflix. But I think to fight that, to actively curate your life so that you are having interesting experiences in the world and that you have something to reflect upon to bring back to whatever it is you do in your life.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Meaning what, when you say curate - go out and and make sure that you're having interesting experiences with people, going to a museum, basically enriching your life, making time for that?

ROSEN: Yeah. I would say that it's a very - but I don't know that it has to be the sort of traditional formula of going to a museum. Maybe you take up archery. Maybe you are doing pottery, but you're really a banker. You know, maybe you're going to see a talk on a field that has nothing to do with what you do or traveling. But that you are seeking out experiences outside of your comfort zone, that you are experimenting and exploring and figuring out what it is you actually like. You may come across something that you never knew you were interested in.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Photographer Claire Rosen, her new book is called "Imaginarium."

Thanks so much for being with us.

ROSEN: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMIINA'S "PERTH")

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