I’ve been thinking about inspiration lately. For me, it used to be the art that inspires and not the artist or the context, but I’ve been taking it all in lately with counterintuitive results. I have come up with a short list of the kinds of work that most motivates me to create. Here it is.
Popular Mediocre Art
You’d think incredible art would inspire the most, but that is not the case with me. Truly great works make we think, “well, I can’t do that,” and I because disheartened. I’m not selling myself short really, maybe I can do something similar, but if I can’t think of a way to improve on a piece the most I hope to get out of it is imitation. Mediocre art lends itself more to originality. I think “I can do better than that” and am motivated to do just that because the mediocre art is already proven in the marketplace by it’s popularity. Better art isn’t only within my ability, but also a safe bet to be appreciated by others. I’m all for art for the sake of art, but I need someone to like mine. I’m needy like that.
Great fringe art.
Great art, as opposed to the mediocre, still represents a challenge to be meet, but it’s best when it’s largely unknown. Inspiration from a piece always runs the risk that which you create from said inspiration will be somewhat derivative of the original. I contend that there is little point making a version, however great, of something that is already great...unless that which already exists is far outside the mainstream consciousness. To be clear, I’m not endorsing ripping off a lesser known work, only taking the same inspiration one might from anything from that lesser known work.
Great Art from Another Medium
To take an idea and guarantee a different spin on it, I like to create in a medium different from that of the original idea. I’m not talking about making a charcoal drawing from a watercolor inspiration, although I suppose that’s fine, I’m talking about writing a story staring with a scene taken from a photo or setting typography based on a bit of animation. It doesn’t always work, but if you have developed some creative judgement, just the fact that it occurred to you means that it probably will.