3 Places I Go for Inspiration

When I was about 10 years old, Star Trek: The Next Generation came out. I would watch it with my dad, who was much more of a Trekkie in those days.

But when the first commercial break came I would go off and pretend the whole house was the U.S.S. Enterprise. I would draw little control panels on paper and stick them all over the house. Every time I walked through a door I made that little “fwee” sound. We were on some sort of mission to save the universe.

I knew practically nothing about the show. Sure, I knew who some the characters were (Riker, Picard, Troy, Geordi) and the Klingons were the bad guys, but that’s about it. Yet it gave me a love for science fiction that I still have to this day.

The important thing is that I was inspired to create and imagine.

Nowadays, I am inspired in a variety of ways.

Just as I would watch Star Trek for a few minutes and be inspired to create my own worlds, I can now look at art even for just a little bit and be fired up to go create something of my own.

I can take a fragment of an idea and run with it. The end result might not even resemble the original thing that inspired me. And that’s actually ideal.

It’s said that “good artists borrow and great artists steal” and that the secret to creativity is in concealing your sources.

The point is, you can be inspired anywhere. Here are the places I go:

1. Art Shows/Exhibits

I love to visit art show openings at galleries or museum exhibit openings. I’m inspired by the colors, the brushstrokes, the presentation.

Just immersing myself in art gets me excited and eager to get back in the studio and make my own art.

Maybe I can try a new technique or color palette.

Would a different size or surface work better for me?

Or a series based on … fill-in-the-blank?

2. Meetups with other artists.

You can find artist groups on Facebook, Deviant Art, and more. Find an artist group online that meets in your area, and meet over beverages and snacks. Talk shop and educate each other about practicing your craft or the business side of things.

People have a lot to share about what works for them and what doesn’t. Don’t be stingy with your knowlege. The world is big enough for all of us. Find ways to promote each other’s work! We could all use more cheerleaders.

All these things I get from the Nashville Creative Group, which my friend Beth started a few years ago. I get a lot from both the online discussions and in-person meetups.

Can’t find a group? Start your own! There are plenty of people out there who would love to talk. We’re social creatures after all.

3. Pinterest

I get a lot of ideas on Pinterest. I’ve had an account for a while but didn’t take it seriously until I saw what my friend Blaine Hogan was doing with his.

In his Make Better course, he showed us how he follows Twyla Tharp’s concept of “scratching” with a board called “The Scratching Pile.” It’s where he tosses various ideas that he might do something with in the future.

When you first get on Pinterest it will want to import all your Facebook contacts. If you’re like me, you’ll find all those people from high school only pin recipes and workouts. Don’t be afraid to un-follow them. Pinterest is a social network, but it’s not “social” like Facebook. Pinterest is there for your personal inspiration.

My two main boards are “Scratch” and “Haze.” “Scratch” is based on the Twyla Tharp idea with a lot of abstract imagery that gets me excited, and “Haze” is hazy/foggy imagery that jives with my fog direction from the past few years.

(This should be proof that dudes can use Pinterest. Besides, I know guys who have boards devoted to manly stuff like motorcycles and camping.)

So where do you find inspiration, either online or off? Sound off in the comments!