Saturday, January 23, 2016

Luminaries on Transformation (WSJ)

One of my favorite media features is WSJ., the lifestyle magazine published by the Wall Street Journal.

This month, their Soapbox feature asked six luminaries what Transformation means to them.

Transformation: a metamorphosis during the life cycle; a process by which one expression or function is converted

Here's a snapshot of my favorite responses:

Blythe Danner
Transformation Through Chapters of Life
"I've enjoyed entering into the last chapter of life.  It's been liberating.  The transformation into old age takes you by surprise.  You never really come to terms with it, not on this earth anyway.  But you look back on all of the things you've accomplished and feel good.

But there have been some waves along the way--widowhood, for one.  I never though that would happen, that I would survive my husband, who was so strong and youthful.

Still, I've never found old age to be as frightening as I think it might be for some people...I'm not terrified of the end--it all feels like such a natural ongoing journey."

Michael Chow
Transformation Through Suffering
"In the first act of a movie, you have the 'inciting incident', an event that brings about change in a character's life. For me that was London. I was born into a life of luxury in Shanghai. (However) I was always very sick. So I went to school in London. I was uprooted, I didn't speak the language, I had lost my culture, I knew no one, and I never saw my father again.

When I was 29, I started Mr. Chow to bridge gap between East and West (due to my experiences in London).

Suffering fuels transformation--it was that suffering early on (in London) that transformed me from a delicate little thing into someone determined to do good."

Pat McGrath 
Transformation Through Makeup & Confidence
"It would be naive not to acknowledge the pressures women are faced with to look a certain way. But for me, a bit of makeup had always been a way to gain an instant confidence boost. People can benefit from the unique personal transformation that makeup can provide, because when you paint your face up to exude confidence, it often works inward."

Massimiliano Gioni
Transformation Through Diverse Art Lenses
"As Italians, we tended to see a lot of art just by going to church.  But I didn't even consider that art.  Instead, it was a sort of visual soundtrack to religion or background noise.

So my first encounters with contemporary art happened through books. Later I encountered Warhol's films Chelsea Girls and Trash.

These were certainly transformative experiences, but more than that, I think my early attraction to this kind of art was part of a transformative journey. I was interested in art because it was a vehicle was a vehicle of both social and intellectual mobility.

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