Where do you find inspiration as an artist?
What are your sources of inspiration? And what inspires you to the fullest?
If you’re a visual artist, you must have felt inspired many times before. But you’ve likely felt uninspired too, and you may have wondered what inspiration is, where and how you can find it, if inspiration is real, and whether art needs inspiration at all. I’ve tackled the different facets of art inspiration in this blog post.
Today, I’d like to share some thoughts about my main source of inspiration and my understanding of what it means to be inspired. Because we all need, at the beginning of this new year, a little reminder of a simple fact: inspiration is always there – inside of us.
Most of the time I draw inspiration from Nature, my great master. I’m particularly attracted to seashells, water, stones, stars, galaxies, and feathers. While I look slowly at these wonders, I notice different patterns and make new connections.
I’m guided by the forms and textures I encounter, and the feelings that arise within me. All of my art is an attempt to restore a connection with Nature and the Invisible that humans have once broken. I’m fascinated by Nature, where nothing superfluous occurs, but everything has its place, meaning, and inner order.
The outcome of my creative engagement with the natural miracles of this planet is free in form and often in high spirits, pretty much like a musical composition called capriccio. Because I find so much joy in Nature!
What’s my secret? I do nothing else but collect, sort out, and literally go beyond the form of things that come from Nature. In other words, whenever I explore and work with natural elements, I see them from within and I transform their patterns into unique forms and structures that carry my message of freedom, wonder, and beauty. Because I've got an inward approach to Nature.
I also notice the space within and around the natural elements I connect with. I often think about that space in terms of a deep breath that expands my lungs, brain, and heart and fills them with Life. I inhale creative energy from Nature, which always sparks my artistic creativity.
Yes, I find and express unrepeatable motifs, shapes, and textures. Because I love the uncertainty of such ventures, and I need the guidance of my great master. I can’t invent anything out of nothing. Nobody can that, by the way, and if you doubt it, think, for instance, of Duchamp’s Fountain, or of Edison’s light bulb. To put it simply, in Pablo Picasso’s words:
"I do not seek, I find. It is a risk, a holy adventure. The uncertainty of such ventures can only be taken on by those, who feel safe in insecurity, who are leaders in uncertainty, in guilelessness, who let themselves be drawn by the target and do not define the target themselves."
I’ve recently begun a new project: I paint the Cosmos (check the pictures I've published on Instagram). It feels like a necessity under the current circumstances when there are so many restrictions and encroachments on people’s freedom throughout the world. This new cycle of works is a personal expression of the darkness of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also of hope and, ultimately, of fascination with the grandeur of our infinite Universe.
I take my visual inspiration from a book that the Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist presented in her retrospective at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark in 2019: Himmel & Erde: Verborgene Welten (2002). Why this book precisely? Because it's filled with macro pictures, which give me a glimpse into the depth of the world not as it appears but as it actually is. And beyond. Check it out yourself (you won’t regret it).
As a visual artist, you can identify unique patterns, make connections, and find possibilities instead of clear-cut solutions; you can create; you’ve got this capacity. Provided you tame your mind and release your heart. Provided you’re ready to explore alternative pathways, and have the courage to see and express things differently; to change perspective, and to give the sparks inside your brain the chance to unfold. Provided you don’t allow habitual thoughts to suffocate your creative process.
Provided you’re a finder rather than a seeker.
Let’s have a closer look at the fundamental difference between seeking and finding.
To seek means to search for something that can’t be found, which is hidden somewhere. This search can go on forever and can be so tiring. Because to seek means to look outward in search of inspiration, ideas, or answers.
On the other hand, to find is to look inward, within your higher self. Beyond the form. Beyond the visible. To find is to see through and beyond appearances and the limits of physical vision; to discover and reinvent the world each time anew. That is to recognise and, by recognising, to give an ordinary thing another, extra-ordinary life. Pretty much like a painter who, with a magic wand wave, turns a yellow spot into the sun!
“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” (Pablo Picasso)
Shift your focus. Turn inward. Look inside your Self, and change your perspective. Begin to see differently through observation and practice, and the things around you will change, too. Inspiration will follow suit.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” (W. Dyer)
Easier said than done? Well, simple but not easy, indeed when the focus is elsewhere and you try in vain, from outside of yourself, to reach a higher level of consciousness ... However, possible and already there: inside of you.
It starts with a choice – a personal decision to turn your attention inward, listen profoundly, and stop searching. A decision to leave the safety of your harbour, and to conquer the waves; to follow the temptation of immensity. To the last.
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Recognise your pointlessness and keep creating!
From Germany with love,