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Brian Gurrola on Artistic Inspiration

December 29, 2009

Part of a series where we ask artists who inspires them, this post is by Brian Gurrola.

Inspiration comes from everywhere.

As an editor, photographer, graphic designer, director, animator, producer, writer, cinematographer, web designer, and whatever else that I do, there is never one source of inspiration.

Everything that I look at, touch, visit, smell, hear… it all inspires me to an extent. The placement of my morning waffles to my scrambled eggs to my glass of orange juice can give birth to a seamless way to bridge two scenes together in what would have otherwise been a rather awkward edit. It’s often as random as that. My mind tends to be very interconnected in a complex manner that I often can never decipher. But I don’t suppose an article about my pointless obscurities throughout my daily routine would leave you with any sort of usefulness, so I’ll stick with the bigger picture.

My primary concentration is film, particularly editing. So I must have a long list of well established editors as influences in my work? Not really. Much like the general public, I don’t know many editors. But there are a few filmmakers in particular that I often draw inspiration from.

Sofia Coppola

Powerful and touching films where every character is more than real. Raw, but sensible and intimate with her stories and characters. Fantastic visuals. No other director has a way of affectively mixing music of one genre with another, giving forth powerful emotions to help audiences connect with her characters, an attribute I take for most of my films.

Wes Anderson

Known for having a very distinct look and feel, spending a considerable amount of time in all aspects of production design. It doesn’t mean his scripts lack any sort of a good story, that’s far from it. He has a quirky and witty way of presenting his ideas, which gives his films a very unique look at the world and a great sense of humor. Occasionally I take from this. I’m often inspired by his unique art direction, both when directing as a graphic designer, even to how I frame my shots both as a DP and a photographer.

Alfonso Cuarón

A darker side of myself. Even when directing children’s films, he continues to stay true to his style. The darker direction to the Harry Potter films was brought upon with his interpretation of the third in series. There is a true to life rawness present in all his films. Hand held cameras and ridiculously long shots, a signature to his style, helps convey this rawness while bringing the audience closer to the action and into the story. When directing, camera operating, or even editing, I often prefer longer shots and really getting close with my actors. And like myself, he is one of a few directors who both direct and edit their own films.

Michel Gondry

Hand made films, literally. A purveyor of dreams, his common subject matter, in the way dreams are dreamt. His visual designs are often accomplished using found items and visual effects done in camera. A true abstract artist working in features, commercials, music videos, and shorts. As the director of my favorite film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, his use of avoiding computer generated imagery and effects and thinking outside of the box is a strong trait I implement in my own work.

Spike Jonze

A highly imaginative individual with clever ideas and a great visual style. Works with a slew of talented artists, including writer Charlie Kaufman and an onslaught of astounding actors. When directing Where the Wild Things Are, he remained true to the source and his own vision while fighting studios executives who wanted the film to be more family friendly, “commercialized,” and less “art-house.” Watching him behind the scenes, he is a rare director with a big, fun heart and a fighting spirit, a personality that I strive for when working on projects with others.

Charlie Kaufman

The king of intricate scripts. He knows story. The most obscure ideas turn into beautifully executed intricate narratives focusing on the complexities of the human condition to unfold emotional and compelling stories that are true of heart. I often attempt to create a story of such complexity. Although I never reach the status of Kaufman’s work, it allows me to think of new creative ideas. He has a mind much like my own, but unlike myself, he can fit all the pieces together for everyone else to comprehend.

Beyond the filmmakers, every form of art inspires me to an extent. Architecture and interior design help me in determining three dimensional spaces in blocking, art direction, and editing. Music is a powerful tool for me when it comes to my edits and sense of rhythm. I listen to music during 78% of my waking day, occasionally when I sleep too. Paintings, graphic designs, sculpture, drawings, photographs, theatre… all sources I draw upon when working in any artistic medium.

But nothing has a greater influence than the people I love around me. There is a greater impact when I can have those who are close to me critique my work and I can give the same back. Those who are learning at the same level as I am to make mistakes with and feed off each other. And to be inspired by each other’s new and creative ideas. Friends who are there to give me support in what I love. A community who is always there for me.

You can find out more about Brian at and his professional site

One Comment leave one →
  1. Caron permalink
    December 29, 2009 3:41 pm

    Great Job! I love all of those directors/writers. It’s interesting how every one finds inspriation in a different way, and see’s something different when watching a movie or seeing breakfast on the table.

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