22 Apr 2010

What inspires me to make art?

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

I was thinking about this question recently, mainly because I have times that I feel uninspired, too busy, too anxious to fail, or just lazy. So I decided I need to strengthen my art-making habits, and to do that, I have to find ways to be inspired and encouraged even if I don’t feel like it. And in the process of making that list, I introspected about the times that I did “feel like it” and did produce.

Rather than trying to think of new ways, I collected all the old ways that are working for me. Here is my list:

Deadlines – This is by far my strongest motivator. Like in the business world, or at work, when I have a deadline I will do everything I can to meet it in the best performance possible. The looming date will encourage me to finish things early, not to leave everything to the last minute, and to forget about laziness or anxiety. Self inflected deadlines might be useful, but one thrown on me from outside, such as an art show submission deadline, a licensor project deadline, or a newspaper print deadline, work much better. I have no control over them, so I am taking charge and making the most of it. And once you get into the mode of creation, you just continue.

Visit an art show – Every time I go to an art show, art fair or a visit to the Art Museum, I literally feel my artistic juices boiling and surfacing. Some time it’s because I think I can do “just like that” or maybe “even better”. Sometime because the colors or prospects of interesting designs just inspire me. And sometime it’s the business excitement in the air – seeing other artists living their artistic lives.

Borrow several art books from the library – I always read, and usually more than one book at a time, having books everywhere in the house. I have a small art books collection, but I can’t buy them all. So instead I borrow from the library. And I don’t limit myself to one style or specific artists, I like reading them all. And many times I find my inspiration right there.

Take an art class – That’s a good idea for every artist, to learn and expand your knowledge. But for me it’s more than that. I can see a pattern in my past that during an art class or after I completed a course, my creativity levels jumped up and I produced much more than in other times. So it is a good boost for my inspiration to make art.

Browse for images online – Not every artist works from photographs, but I do. And with the ability to access millions of pictures and photos online, all I need sometime is just to browse on Google Images, Picasa, or other sites. I do have to be careful with copyrights and using some of the photos as source for my art, but the visual stimulation is the important point at this stage.

Try a new medium and integrate it with an old one – I usually try new mediums in an art class (which I discussed above) but what I also like is thinking of, and implementing, ways to use the new medium along with an old medium that I am familiar with. For example, I once took a pottery class, and made few small bowls. The following year I took a stain-glass class, and created a Passover Seder Plate that used the old clay pots with a Stained Glass tray that hold them in place.

Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder Plate, Stained Glass and Pottery, 12.5" x 13.5" x 2.5", 2004

Make art with my kids – This one I probably don’t do enough, but when I do, I really enjoy it. Kids are so spontaneous, unafraid to use lines and colors, and so honest, that it reminds us what real art is all about.

So this is the list of things I came up with that help me when I have dry spells. Each one of us is different, and have different list. What is yours?



This article was published on FineArtView blog on April 22, 2010

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