What do you do as a regular practice to inspire yourself? Where do you look for colors, textures, shapes that speak to you? I suspect many people would cite nature as an inspiration for their art, no matter the medium. While I do find some inspiration from natural beauty, I am perhaps more drawn to manufactured beauty.
One of the best ways for me to get my creative juices flowing is to visit an antique store-the kind with multiple vendors. I especially love items from the 40’s and 50’s. Bakelite makes me swoon. Show me a funky wooden purse with a Lucite handle and I am in heaven. A box full of vintage sewing supplies? Sold! Dress forms and mannequins and glove displays-oh my! Tables and shelves made of punched metal and wire-I have about 12 of them. I own a few of these things (I sold a lot of it in the last move) but the point is not in the having of them, it’s in the looking at them. I take in the shapes, the colors, the heft, and I create stories about where these items used to live. Who bought them new? Who spent their whole paycheck on a Lucite purse? Who wore that vintage dress and for what occasion? There are so many stories and so many lives that have contributed to the display in each booth.
I take all of this information in and draw from it in my art work. My work often includes vintage images and small treasures I have collected. I work mainly with beeswax collage and altered books, which both lend themselves nicely to incorporating found and 3D objects.
I find that I am drawn to the same colors and textures repeatedly. I have oodles of lime green paper, fabric, ribbon, beads and buttons. I have every art material imaginable that comes in a glow-in-the-dark version. So I find it helps from time to time to share materials with other artists. Whether this happens at a workshop or in a class or in a more organized art materials exchange, it helps to keep my own stash fresh.
I will talk more later about organizing a studio and acquiring materials, but for now I pose a question to you. What inspires you? What is your visual candy? How do you then use it in your artwork?