I admit on a regular basis I am a nerd (huge nerd) when it comes to history or other useless information. When I was in college I did not have cable, so when I worked on pieces I started watching taped documentaries on random subjects. It ranged from the Civil War to Baseball to the Titanic, whatever the local library carried. Over the years I have purchased several DVDs that are used as “background” noise when I paint. For example I watch my Titanic DVD when I paint (usually watercolor – morbid I know) and Lincoln Assassination or one of my numerous JFK DVDs when I sculpt. One of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received was The Presidents on DVD from my husband, I love watching that when I draw or I am in the “planning” stage of an idea. I have added a new documentary to my rotation The Tenth Inning (the sequel to Ken Burns’ Baseball) I TiVo it last week and have become obsessed with watching it when I draw. I use it as background noise but every now and then I talk back to the TV. For example in the Tenth Inning they talk about Barry Bonds, my response to him taking steroids is if he was nicer no one would have cared but when your a jerk and breaking a beloved record, people care. I don’t know why I talk back to the TV when I watch the same documentaries over and over again but I do, every time I watch it.
Most people listen to music I listen to documentaries or book on tapes (those are great!) I guess I want to learn something when I do a project whether it is the Titanic or how Cal Ripkin Jr. saved baseball. My obsessive watching of the Lincoln Assassination paid off in college because I was able to recite from memory why Lincoln was hated so much for a test (I got a 120 on that test out of a possible 100). I guess my useless knowledge may come in handy some day but right now I am just happy to be able to answer random questions on Jeopardy with out having to Google them.