I was out and about in the world the other day, when a lightning bolt of inspiration hit me. I felt weak at the knees, giddy with excitement, my fingers itching to get to work immediately, my mind racing with planning, I needed to take some measurements, gather my materials, maybe do a test with my materials.
As the day wore on any time my mind drifted to this idea I felt all giddy again.
Like I was falling in love for the first time.
Then it struck me, I've become so intimate with what it feels like to be inspired (for me), to get that momentary, yet sometimes fleeting feeling of "Oh my gosh I have to make that!".
Maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about, maybe you have your own version of it.
Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about and this all sounds a little crazy to you.
I'm here to tell you that we all creative juices flowing in our veins. You don't have to classify yourself as an artist to be creative, you don't have to be working on art consistently every day to have a creative bone in your body.
However you do need to know how to flex your creative muscles if you're going to BE creative; and that means you have to know where they are and be able to pinpoint them.
Ultimately you have to know what inspires you and why so that you can recreate that moment over and over again.
When I first went to art school it always seemed like a scramble to put yourself in the way of inspiration so that you could produce an art piece by next week’s deadline. I always found it interesting to watch and see what my classmates would do to get inspired.
There is no right way to go about it. In the days before a deadline I would witness my friends and classmates involved in a myriad of interesting activities.
Some people like to do mock ups or drawings of their idea before they get to work on it, some people like to leave things to the last minute and use the pressure of a deadline to get inspired, others have a personal process that they go through to find themselves in a place of inspiration.
My own process like many has changed and evolved over time, along with my practice. Oftentimes ideas come to me right as I’m drifting from waking life into dream life and so I now keep a notebook next to my bed to catch these ideas. There has been too many times that I was certain I would remember a brilliant idea in the morning- so far that has never happened unless I wrote it down.
What has been the most reliable in producing inspiration and ideas is spending time in nature.
For me- it's foolproof.
Perhaps because my work is often based on things in nature, or because that is where I tend to be happiest, or maybe it's the silence.
Whenever I've been stuck with coming up with an idea I can wander into a forest or clamber on some rocks, or go for a hike and inevitably the combination of quiet and beauty around me produces some exciting idea that I can pursue.
The point of telling you my own process is so that you can get an idea of what your own process might look like. Find the places and spaces that you can think best and the sights that inspire you most.
Spend some time getting to know your process; what works best for you, what gets your creative juices flowing and your heart filled with excitement.
Get really intimate with what it feels like to be inspired. What makes you giddy with creativity? What gets you excited to make? Maybe you love playing with colors, or cutting up magazines and making tiny collages.
For some, seeing the work of others in a gallery will do it, or playing with materials endlessly, or having a conversation with someone who inspires you, or (like me) spending time in nature- whatever it is figure it out, hone in on it and get curious about it.
Once you know where that sweet inspiration spot is, you can return to it again and again and start making more art, more consistently!
(Image of me looking at El Anatsui's work in awe with tears in my eyes- now that's inspiration for you!)