Last night my oldest daughter came over for a visit. My wife and I sat at the table talking about this and that, ordinary things when the subject came up about where people find themselves the most comfortable.
We discussed how strength and inspiration traditionally come from unpleasant situations. It's as if we ignore our creative side until the well fills with ink and the need to express has arisen.
Over my lifetime, I have dabbled in just about every form of art there is. I have written various genres, painted large murals, wrote poetry, sketched, have played keyboard, guitar (electric and acoustic), bass, drums, sang, built models (won some awards), wrote software (which can also be an art), built movie props, became a leather smith, and the list goes on!
Of these, I would only consider myself an expert in a few. There is one thing they all have in common, and that is there was an inspiration before creation!
I consider myself an expert leather smith and would rate myself a strong 9 out of 10 comparatively speaking of today's leather artists. YES, the image above IS leatherwork I did for a customer. Even so, inspiration creates my best work.
I never really considered myself a leather smith, or musician, or anything other than an artist.
I take inspiration and create, using various mediums to express myself. So, for a time, I write. Another season, I build models. My canvas and materials I use change, but the expression is still rooted in the inspiration.
When an artist tries to create before his well fills and is not "feeling" it, we refer to it as "writer's block," or another form depending on the medium used.
My inspiration can come from many different sources. I can fill with anxiety or stress from something going on and feel the need to express myself in an artistic form, so I do so.
Programming is an art. There is a beauty to code and formatting that only other artists who code can appreciate.
Within the coding community, you will hear programmers comment about how nicely formatted someone's code is or how someone wrote a simplified formula to accomplish a complicated task.
Artistry. It is creating beauty in the mundane.
Have you ever saw an object and loved it, but you weren't sure why?
Advertisements, cars, computers, everything in life was "designed" by someone. Brands, logos, everything at its conception, had an artist who developed it to serve a purpose, to please a consumer through artistry.
I often wonder how many untapped talented artists in the world have never explored or experimented?
One of the reasons I feel the art programs in school are so important and shouldn't e overlooked is that one doesn't always know they are artists. They know they don't think and feel like everyone else. They don't "fit in," and are usually awkward and not as socially involved.
They are "eclectic," or eccentric, stand out as different. The reality is, without the artists, this world wouldn't be as pleasing to the eye or the ear. Your chair would be less comfortable, your mouse wouldn't feel right in your hand, there would be nothing "ergonomic," and things would be much different without artists.
A young child playing with Legos begins with snapping everything together, usually making a tower or some other rudimentary object. But slowly learns about the pieces, how they vary, the different colors, and in time, create meaningful things with aesthetically pleasing colors and shapes, that is, if they are artistic.
These are the children who grow to make this world a more beautiful place through the expression of art, whether paintings (Bob Ross was a genius with a knife and brush!) or words (Poets, novelists, those who write lyrics for songs) designers, engineers, the list is endless.
All because of artists, making the world a better place, one creation at a time!
But today's blog is about INSPIRATION. The fuel to creativity!
I have done some of my best work under duress. Even now, I enjoy the time crunch on projects. I know that's weird, but I do. They are always on time and never late. I work more creatively when I have less time to accomplish a task.
One of the places I get "inspiration" from is the time crunch. Everyone is different. My youngest daughter freezes when she knows there's a time limit. She has trouble with anything timed, whether a game or a school test.
So we all get inspiration from different sources, and what works for one may not work for another. However, here is a list compiled from artists of various genres and mediums. There may be inspirational fuel listed here you can use for yourself.
Comment on this blog with things you may already do for inspiration. I'm sure everyone would love to hear!
A quiet place; this is why so many artists want a "studio," so they can avoid distractions. I cannot imagine Mozart trying to create one of his symphonies with the television on, kids playing in the next room, the dog barking at the mailman, the phone ringing. Without quiet, you cannot explore inwardly and cannot express outwardly through your creation. Peace can draw out inspiration, even if it in itself is not inspiring.
Time to think; you need time to reflect, ponder, wonder, imagine, and this can only happen after taking care of number 1. Some of the great unappreciated artists spent much time "thinking," such as Miyamoto Musashi. Yes, he was a great warrior. However, the Japanese believed in balance, and he was an accomplished artist and poet as well.
Be inspired by other works. When I wanted to write a post-apocalyptic novel, I read and watched everything apocalyptic. I already enjoyed this over the years. However, it was researching, and I watched with different eyes, which accomplished a few things. Firstly, I would get the vision and imagery of the apocalypse in my mind. Secondly, I would be sure to write something completely different. Thirdly, I may see missed opportunities never explored, inspiring me to create in that niche!
Go where you want to be. If you're going to write poetry about the beauty of the fields in bloom, then go to an area in bloom! You will quickly realize that there are sights, feelings, sounds, and smells you hadn't thought of sitting in your office. Get inspired for your creation from the source!
Read! Yes, read. When I read a book, I have noticed that my mind changes, and I think differently. I don't know why. It just does. Perhaps it's like taking the old motorcycle out of storage and getting it started. It runs a little rough at first, but after a few minutes of warming up, it peaks and runs at its best performance level. Maybe our brains are like that? Perhaps a book is a catalyst for priming our full potential in creativity and thinking?
In the same way, broaden your horizons. Go somewhere or do something you have never done before. This new experience could open up a part of you that was dormant. Creativity could be a unique experience away.
Hit the gym. No, thanks. Running is something you do when being chased. I guess for some people, though, this works. Getting the blood flowing, burning up some calories, plus, if you wear headphones, you could listen to inspirational music.
Inspirational music. I prefer classical, or some other music without lyrics! Lyrics steal my attention and break my concentration, but instrumentals always allow me to fully control that part of my brain that thinks and writes. Music is very inspirational, and you can even choose a genre depending on what you are trying to find inspiration to create.
Write down everything! Don't overthink everything. Just write. You can examine the notes later to sort out the random thoughts from the inspired ones.
Do not be afraid to fail. FOF is a thing! Fear of failure keeps many super creative people from creating. Think of your favorite musical artist. Was every single one of his/her songs a number 1 hit? Of course not. I bet if you look hard enough, you can even find pieces your favorite artist created that you hate because not everything we do is a success. But this is how you discover the hits, by continuously creating without the fear of failing! So stop being a perfectionist.
Be creative in other ways. If I'm looking for inspiration to write, sometimes I will be creative in different ways, like build a model, design a website, etc., something that has absolutely nothing to do with what I want to do. It does work for me.
Surround yourself with other creative artists. Sometimes, talking with others brings out the creativity in you. Exploring other art, looking at other people's hard work, you may see something that "speaks" to you.
Here is the big take-away from all of this.
Find a quiet place.
Think for a while.
Write or sketch notes.
Don't be afraid of failing.
Never give up.
Be sure to comment with how you get inspired!