arts

Secret rituals of the world's leading creatives

Updated 13th July 2018
INDIO, CA - APRIL 14:  Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella )
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Coachella
Secret rituals of the world's leading creatives
Written by Zahra Jamshed, CNN
Beyoncé is just like the rest of us -- or at least that's what New York-based illustrator Ellen Weinstein wants you to think. Her new book, "Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People," explores the quirky good-luck rituals of some of the world's most renowned creative personalities to show that they get nervous just like the rest of us.
To calm her nerves before taking the stage, Beyoncé engages in an extensive pre-show ritual that includes a stretch, a prayer, and an hour of alone time with her favorite playlist. Others have more unusual superstitions: Painter Salvador Dali carried a piece of driftwood to ward off evil spirits, while Pablo Picasso held on to personal items -- from old clothes to hair trimmings -- in an effort to retain his essence.
According to Weinstein, megastar Beyoncé -- pictured here performing at Coachella music festival -- has an elaborate pre-show ritual. It involves a prayer, a stretch, a chair massage and an hour to herself while listens to her favorite playlist.
According to Weinstein, megastar Beyoncé -- pictured here performing at Coachella music festival -- has an elaborate pre-show ritual. It involves a prayer, a stretch, a chair massage and an hour to herself while listens to her favorite playlist. Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Coachella
"One can be extremely accomplished and maintain rituals to ensure their own success," Weinstein said. "It shows how common these behaviors are and how unique each individual's recipe for good luck is."
Weinstein -- who has previously produced illustrations for newspaper publications and children's books -- began researching celebrity superstitions after she was commissioned to illustrate an article on the concept of good-luck rituals.
Having noticed an overlap between her own quirky habits and those she was illustrating, she began exploring how some of the biggest creative personalities in history calm their nerves or encourage creativity.
Her research involved hunting through archived interviews and biographies of historical figures. For modern megastars, she scoured articles, video interviews and social media profiles. Eventually, as she states in the book, "iconic figures started to feel more relatable."
When turning her research into illustrations, she made the style of each drawing unique to the individual being depicted.
"I wanted each image to feel like a poster and to be an iconic image that could stand on its own," she said.
Scroll through the gallery above for highlights from Weinstein's book.
"Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People" by Ellen Weinstein, published by Chronicle Books, is out now.