It’s different for each artist. (Keep in mind that in Bali, the same word for human means artist). We can all recognize those moments of sheer, pure, unadulterated inspiration. To me they feel divine, and physically vitalizing. My cells all do a little dance of joy as this measureless elixir of artistry pours itself on through.
Recently, after falling into a dark hole of exhaustion and post-Hampton blahs, I knew I needed a little kick-start to address some formulating projects still in the embryonic stages of manifestation. I wrote some lists and cleaned up the studio.
I ordered some applicable books, among them, Walking in this World
: The Practical Art of Creativity, by Julia Cameron, who’s provided me some inspiration with A Vein of Gold and The Artist’s Way years ago, so I thought to try this one too. They can read a bit obvious, but sometimes one needs obvious. Mostly I just love workbooks. Call and response, and those little urges for action become the medicine for blockages, and therefore Cameron’s books offer an easy salve.
In finding vision, I tend to utilize several key components: reading relevant material, writing in response to said readings, walking daily, cleaning the studio, sketching ideas, and constant research relevant to my current projects. These are foundational, and ideas of course can come at any time, but I like to nourish their growth as much as possible.
This snowballs into a self-perpetuating creation mechanism. I write late at night a list of creative actions, including “take pics as I walk tomorrow.” Today I took pictures of flowers in bloom that weren’t there yesterday, and a sticker of an octopus, a piece of cardboard mulch with a tractor logo on it that reads “famous fruit,” and now I’m realizing I want to get some shots of the imported goats eating the brush by the recycling center. These pictures, now, want to be part of a larger piece I’m planning, so I’m sketching them on in.
I love to see how others get their inspiration too. The world becomes a constant playground when you illuminate for a living, and we all play to our own tune. Watching Mad Men’s Don Draper both chase and stumble upon ideas throughout his workweek illustrates this task, and my absolute favorite clip of these process is below. To put this in context, you must know he’s been searching for a way to promote Israel as a tourist destination (set in the early 1960s)… Embedding’s been disabled, but you can watch it here: