Latest posts by Sara Holt (see all)
- Experience Can’t Be Tweeted: The Disposable Nature of Digital Life - February 28, 2017
- Chapter and Verse: The Quest for Inspiration is a Religious Experience for Artists - February 20, 2017
- Good Morning, World! – Sara Holt - February 16, 2017
Inspiration. Where does an artist find it and how do we keep it around? I can only speak for myself and a handful of artist friends when it comes to the quest for inspiration. I’ve been an artist in one form or another since I was a teenager. Finding inspiration has never been too difficult for me. I have little rituals I do when I want to recharge my soul fire.
One of my favorite rituals to keep the fires of inspiration burning is to rent some really good off-beat movies like The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, older Ralph Bakshi works, and/or Blade Runner. Those are just some examples of the kinds of films I enjoy and that help me to stay centered in a world of discovery and inspiration. When I’m searching for inspiration I always turn to older movies. New movies are okay but cinema from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s can’t be beat in my opinion especially, when I’m looking to be inspired. So, I watch my movies, take time trips in the mind to different points in life, listen to music. When I watch the movies I can get lost in a scene, a song, a person, a face, an emotion and that’s usually where the inspiration kicks in for me. It’s a lot like falling in love. You have zero control over whether or not it happens, it’s hard to describe, you know it when you feel it, and you hope that it hangs around.
When you are lucky enough to get inspired you feel invigorated. The only thing that even comes close for me is being in love. These are the two highest and best emotional states a human can attain, in my opinion. The feeling that courses through my veins when I’m inspired is electric. I’m in a good period of inspiration at the moment. I’m not quite bouncing off the walls because I’ve been at this long enough that I know how to temper my excitement to stay grounded and still be able to get into my work.
It truly can be a religious type of experience for artists when they’re inspired. It’s an adrenaline rush, a head trip, it’s like an organic machine that takes over and works through the artist. Inspiration is a powerful thing. It can send you into a panic attack if you aren’t used to it happening to you. The art an artist creates while in the throws of inspiration is always leaps ahead of any work they forced themselves to make. Trying to make anything creative is difficult and even more so when you can’t get inspired. I have had days, like all artists, where I force myself to do work even though I’m not really feeling the inspired urge. When you are doing your art as your main career you feel you have to attempt to make something, anything, to keep going in your business. The experience of inspired working conditions is always preferred.
If you find an artist that you can relate to and have some things in common with them that can be an excellent source of inspiration. I always felt a kindred connection to Jean-Michel Basquiat. I like to watch, Basquiat, his biopic for inspiration. He wanted to get his work out to the world, be on top of the art industry, garner attention for his talents and at the same time he was painfully shy, introverted, and naive. He loved to listen to jazz while he painted and I can certainly relate to him on that level. Painting to music is one of the best ways to produce awesome art. It sets a tone and rhythm that helps the creative process.
It’s important for an artist to stay inspired in their work and life. I’ve always got to be engaged in some project that holds excitement for me or I’m just not jazzed about the day. I like the idea and process of getting up in the morning and picking a goal or action that can help me accomplish something with my art. Just like any other aspect of life if you’re excited about the project, you’re on the right track.
On a side note, I did a podcast to go with this article but am having a lot of technical problems. I’ll be fixing those problems this weekend and uploading podcasts and links to them to accompany future articles. It’s just how it goes. I recorded my talk, put it together in iMovie, and it’s just too big a file. I use a system of several different phones, iPad, and a clone computer that is basic at best. It’s challenging to get it all together but I manage to accomplish my goals. It just takes a little extra time. I stayed up late last night trying to solve my technical problems. All in all, I spent about 8 hours working on that podcast. It’s the best one I’ve done so it was frustrating that I couldn’t get it working last night. I will have it in working order soon. I’ll just have to split it into two separate files so it can be uploaded.
Time to get back to work. When you’re an artist you make your own hours. I’m always busy at my business. Stay inspired!