Where does my inspiration come from?
Most often when I receive a project, there is some framework in mind from the client. Occasionally, this framework can be specific with imagery in mind, but more often then not, they are very vague and have an outline of “we want the piece to reflect the spirit of the school,”or “something that reflects the character of the space.” Though initially daunting, these general assignments are often the most exciting for me because of the artistic problem that I need to find an answer for.
When presented with one of these general ideas for an installation, my first step is always to spend time in the space. I like to bring my camera, take multiple pictures, take notes, and ask questions. I might do some research both on the internet and asking around to get a feeling for the type of people that use the space.
So where does that inspiration come from once it finally arrives after all that brainstorming? It would be easy to say that it “just happens”but I know there is much more to it than that. As a visual person, I like to think that I constantly affected by the world around me. I see things, I file them away. From some beautiful Indian-inspired pattern in a magazine to the seed pods in my garden, I try to keep my eyes open.
I think inspiration also is a by-product of paying attention to other people and how they respond to their environment, what makes them stop and look. I want my art to have a presence, to cause someone to focus and question. How can I achieve that if I am not making a connection on a deeper level than just surface decoration?
I like my art to be accessible, to be meaningful to child as well as an adult. My inspiration lies somewhere in the shared experience of what brings us joy. The “spirit of the school”may best be reflected in depicting children playing Ring-Around-the-Rosie with their school in the background and a hint of the challenging neighborhood in which it exists. The “character of the space”might best be imagined as a series of sculptural birds flying, bringing not only some movement but a reference to the owner’s interest in local, fresh food, and embrace of natural themes. Inspiration for me is ultimately found in marrying your art to the spirit of a place and the people who will spend time there.