I Wait for No Muse
How I Find Inspiration for Art
very time I’m asked what inspires you?, I get a little bit stumped. Because I don’t rely on specific subject to get inspired. For me inspiration is about attitude and process, not subject. In this post, I’ll share with you the main attitudes and my process that helps me become, and stay, inspired
Inspiration and Creativity are at the Core of the Human Experience
Inspiration isn’t something that’s only available for a select few tortured artists. Who live poor all their lives, have awful relationships with people around them, and die miserably. Then, only then, somebody comes and collects their work, promote it well, and sells it for good money.
“ inspiration is part of our build up”
I believe inspiration is part of our build up. I like the idea that bible says that man was created in the image of God, and his likeness. Theresa Dedmon often says, that make us all creative by nature, because we are created in the image and likeness of the creator. I also like the idea that in the new testament, the word that’s translated to “inspiration” in English, literally means “God breathed” in the original Greek. In the same way, that man lived after God breathed in him, we live by the same breath of inspiration. We are created to be creative, and the breath we live by is inspiration. That’s available for everyone, not just the artistically inclined. I saw people do amazing things with chemistry and engineering.
Actively Seek Inspiration
Most people wait for inspiration to come, and only when it comes they create art. They sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. But inspiration never comes, unless they’re lucky. It then may come once or twice.
“ what is beautiful to you?”
The reality is that inspiration won’t come for you. You have to go for it. You go for it by asking the right questions. What do you like? what is beautiful to you? What Interest you? These things are great sources of inspiration. You have all the permission in the world to seek inspiration in what you find beautiful.
All Things are Interesting
Inspiration doesn’t have to be this grandiose thing that’s so elusive, and must torture yourself for it. Most people I meet are so dismissive of very interesting aspects of their lives that can be amazing art work, or stories, or whatever.
““Omnia Sunt Gravia”, it translates from Latin to “All Things are Interesting””
I struggled to find words to explain this all my life. Now I found the perfect phrase to sum it: “Omnia Sunt Gravia”, it translates from Latin to “All Things are Interesting”. Be present, and pay attention. Don’t just fleet about like you’re anxious to go somewhere. Take some time and allow yourself to be curious about the world around you. Keep an open mind, because you can try everything once, except meth. Meth is bad for you.
When I was a teenager I drew comics, and wrote stories for my comics. I realised that pretty much all knowledge and experiences can be raw materials, if you will, for stories and characters. That’s pretty much been my main motivation to be genuinely interested in my classes, and just aim for a grade without learning something. Sure, I didn’t do chemistry after high school. However, I know enough about it to bluff my way around if I need to explain how dumping rose flavoured chocolate in the ocean led to the evolution of giant, mutant, sentient bunny rabbits. Just kidding, no science can ever explain that, unless it’s nukes. Nukes explain everything. The idea is if I have concepts and facts, I can play with them. It can be as realistic, tongue in cheek, and playful as I want it. Which also propels me to do more research about some subjects that I want to draw or write about.
Inspiration doesn’t have to be grand, it can be anything. What really matters is an attitude of curiosity, and paying attention to details, and to that still small voice. It’s worth learning about random subjects on wikipedia, or taking interest in someone else’s passion and listen to them while they talk about it for a while. You don’t know when will you use that in your next art work. Plus, it makes you an awesome person.
“Inspiration doesn’t have to be grand, it can be anything.”
Ideas don’t come to you, you create them. Most of them time when I get stuck staring at an empty page or canvas is because I have no idea what am I going to make. I don’t have an idea, is because I didn’t create an idea. This is a much smaller deal than it sounds like.
“Ideas don’t come to you, you create them”
What I found very effective is tossing thumbnails about in my sketchbook (thanks design school). It eliminates a lot of the fear. Because drawing thumbnails doesn’t take more than a few seconds (at least in my case), so you can do a lot of them. It’s not a finished product, and you’re allowed to take you’re time thinking this through. This lowers the stakes a lot, and allows you to focus on one thing at a time. For example, I may write a few notes on what do I want to say in my painting. I may then look for relevant photos or symbols, then I’ll start drawing thumbnails specifically to get a composition I like. Then, after a few thumbnails, redraw the one I like it’s composition the most, and start experimenting with colours. It’s all very rough, quick, and small. Then, when I make something that I like, I’d take it and turn it to a finished painting. All I’m doing is taking my time thinking about it, before jumping in the deep end.
There are always times when I sketch things in the spur of the moment too. I just draw something, and follow through with it, without much judgement. It’s a lot like following a train of thoughts. You draw figure here, you add a scarf there. Then, to balance the composition a little bit, you throw in a nightmarish mutant cat, too keep the pretty lady you just drew company. You can literally do whatever you want to do with it.
This simply how I get inspired. It’s not a grand moment that only a select few enjoy for a fleeting moment in their lives. Inspiration is a gift for all of us from the creator. It’s a process of slowing down, and actually enjoying the life you live.