Inspiration and Creativity

A day or so ago I was visiting one of my favourite art communities; deviantart whilst on the site I was visiting the page one of the photographers whos work I like, she is a young lady from the UK who despite her youth has show some remarkable talent and a natural eye for creating very beautiful images. In her journal for the day she indicated that she was suffering from an ages old curse - namely a lack of inspiration. I responded with this letter which I have rewritten slightly to correct some spelling errors...

Hey Lara, you're dealing with an age old artists curse ... many artists make the mistake of looking at artificial means of stimulating their imagination and inspiration and therein lies the road to ruin ... look deep in yourself and use other works to give you that kick.

Do you have any books that you read or poetry ... Do you keep a notebook or diary, look to this for little triggers, all your inspiration needs is something to feed it ... look farther afield than your passions and research some other genre for new blood. One of the tricks is to look at other work which interests or inspires you, while being careful not to become a consumer rather than a producer.

A very effective way is to pick up a book of poetry and to look at a poem which catches your minds eye ... take key elements in the poem and use them as elements, props or dressing in your photos. You can also start looking at altering your compositions by changing your viewpoints and the dynamics in your photos. You're already doing a lot of this, maybe not consciously but you are ... your work is already belies your age. Which is why I and others like your work so much.

One factor above all which stimulates the artist is experience and when you temper that with patience you have a winning combination. Ideas come from ones surroundings and experiences, if you actively pay more attention to what's going on around you, then inspiration will often spring from it.

For the young, it is often difficult transcending the limitations of their personal experience, this lack of experience can be compensated for by reading and doing so with an open mind. Try not to get bogged down into a particular genre, but read all kinds of stuff. Look to your favorite artists and musician and find out what makes them tick, this is a lot easier these day because of the internet. As I hinted at above, watch your time, you want to avoid the consumer mind by only allowing a portion of the time for this. Creativity often thrives under pressure but imagination needs feeding or it will become jaded.

"For a creative person, the secret for stimulating inspiration is reading widely, traveling extensively, storing ideas in the bottomless receptacle of the mind, and finding joy in the process of imagining."

One last thought ... Think of your mind as a series of lenses which can be focused, try changing the focus and intention behind the focus.