All artists, writers, song composers, visual arts, all sorts of designers, and the rest of the world needs inspiration. Truth be told, we are all artists in some way or another. The only difference between people is that for some art is a hobby and for others it is the only thing and it is both hobby and profession. It becomes you. When art becomes a way of life, then it must change, grow, differentiate itself from other art so that it and its artist can thrive. That’s creativity. Being called upon at frequently in our lives to create something out of nothing. Out of nothing? Maybe not really.
In many professions, people create their “art” out of tangible raw materials. Accounts have accounts to balance and they will balance them using the history of receipts, cheques and transactions. If there’s no transaction, then there will be no account to balance. Likewise, writers of non-fiction, for instance, writers of books on the economy, health and sciences, have lots and lots of materials from which to formulate and extract their ideas. Sometimes, their work can be a form of curation. That means that the raw materials for the work is often tangible in form of books, essays, experiments and interviews of other people. And I’m not saying that writing for them is necessarily easier. It just seems like there’s a place to start. Gardeners too have seeds to nurture. No one will ever ask them to create their own seeds with which to sprout beautiful orchids.
But there are other creators, writers of fiction, poets, fashion designers, visual artists and song writers who create their art from nothing. Once again, do they really create from nothing? Can we say that poets have something because their entire alphabets are available to them? Where do song writers get their tunes? All these artists do not create from nothing, but from something, which is inspiration. That means that the poet, before getting their words into stanzas, they must first be inspired.
Inspiration is defined thus by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: (a) a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation (b)the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions (c) the act of influencing or suggesting opinions.
Those definitions just cause further confusion. Let’s just say that our brains work like computers. For a computer to create a graph or pie chart, it must first be fed with information. For instance, monthly rain pattern in city X. The graph is created to represent that information in colourful style on a pie chart or graph. If you have figures for two cities, the graphs become more complex and tell you more. You can make comparisons and identify patterns.
Artists and creators who do not have tangible raw materials must input lots of data into their minds. It is this data that is called inspiration and that will later combine with other data already in the mind and together they morph and change and mix and match and then come out as a single new element that is personal and unique and that is your art – song, book, poem, etc.
I don’t need to say then, that the more information in the mind, the better and that’s why experience will make you a better artist because you have more in the mind and the mind slowly becomes better at blending information.
Where, you ask, do you get inspiration? That’s an easy one. Inspiration calls out to you, by your name. Seriously. You will feel drawn magically to the thing that inspires you putting you on a high. The inspiration will come from music (you know your own favourite music), from nature (that feeling of awe you get when you see a beautiful garden), from art galleries, from reading books.
The strange thing is that there may be no correlation between what inspires you and what you create. In fact, cross-inspiration (my term), meaning inspiration from different areas of art is common and it works. That means that you might be a fashion designer interested in gardening, or a song writer who reads psychology books and you might even be lucky to be a creator in two or more fields. You paint and you write. The two paths keep crossing each other in your mind until ZING!!!! they suddenly collide into each other create fireworks and a new idea is born. A famous writer once said that sometimes ideas meet and have sex and make a new baby that brings out the best of its parents.
In order to find inspiration for your art, you need to follow your longings. Follow your passion. Take that cooking class, watch that sci-fi movie, read that book and subscribe to that magazine. Do it with the intensity of an economist writer doing research. Because it is research. The fun type. And then keep experimenting with your art until you hear ZING!! and your new idea is born.