Inspiration ebbs and flows. I will go through weeks and not be able to pick up a brush or pen or pair of scissors. And then there are the times when you can't tear me out of my studio, not even to go down to Savages Ale House. I can't decide when it's on or off; inspiration is a fickle thing.
I look for muses - things or people I can't get out of my head. Friendship crushes make for pretty good muses. As do funny children, neighborhood bums, and stray cats. My boyfriend is good to me creative wise. He gives me honest opinions on everything - music, drawings, paintings, life-choices-as-art. I always return the favors.
Things I do to find inspiration:
-Read and re-read books I own that seem to make me think critically. I have this one book, The Theory Toolbox, that a college English professor used in his Literary Theory 101 class. I always keep it around.
-I add lots of contacts on Flickr and peruse their latest uploads periodically. I also join groups that have content I like. Be discerning with your tastes and this can be a great tool. Go adding every person willy-nilly, and you'll end up with a slide show of people's kids, drunken fracases, and weddings. Yick.
-Go out and have a time. It can be a good time or bad time or straight up frightening. Artists of any kind need to have experience doing all kinds of shit. David Choe does this best. Try to soak up new people, places, smells, sights, sounds - and keep a journal. Duh.
-Imitate. Of course this doesn't mean copy. Pay homage to an artist or thing that inspires you by making the imagery, technique, smell, whatever - yours. Recently I've been trying to draw film stills from random sci-fi movies. I didn't set up the scenes or costume the actors or write the story - but I admire them and like to try and get them on paper.
-Have creative people around you. They don't all have to be artists in your medium or even artists at all. Most of my friends are musicians - as am I. Even those who don't profess any certain creative outlet are people I find inspiring, intriguing, attractive, etc. I also encourage friends who have moved away to keep putting up pics of what they're working on. I love that.
-Music. Music is a huge part of my creative process. I incorporate music and songs in my stuff a lot. Last.fm, Pandora, Garagepunk.com, realpunkradio.com, NPR concert archives....siiiiiiigh I love them all. I also like going to various music-sharity blogs and downloading a few rad albums and just listen to them, beginning to end.
-Take off your bra. Leave your shoes on - don't be a hippie. But a bra will suffocate any inspiration with each breath.
-If you're into the whole pastoral thing - go out in the woods or something. That isn't my cup of coffee but I get it.
-Make your space for what you do. I slowly cover the walls of any workspace with various things that make me happy to look at. Also any kind of reference stuff that you may need to look at a lot. I keep a color wheel and various pictures of skeletons hanging up in front of me and need to look at them frequently.
I wish I followed these guidelines as easily as it is to write them down. I decided lately to try and incorporate visual art into what I reeeeally enjoy doing - which is making mix cds (next best thing to deejaying). I made a bunch of fold-up cd cases w/ all this stationary cardstock I had sitting around forever. I'm messing around w/ making each one a different themed art piece w/ a corresponding CD and cool shit inside. Here are the starts of a couple:
And here are a couple of other things I've been pleased with lately. Not exactly gallery-ready stuff - but fun for me!
To end up this post - here is a mix I recently put together for two special ladies in my life who always seem to enjoy a good DJJNELL disc. It fits in well with the impending fall weather. Download or listen right here on the page. Track list at the bottom, dude.
Download Taargus Taargus Sept 2010 Mix