15 October, 2009

Finding Great Artists and Inspiration

I was asked last week how I find artists. There are so many great artists out there, how do you weed through the stack to find inspiration? In this blog I obviously have my preferences, but I try to find a variety of things that might be inspiring to a variety of people, and in order to not limit my own sources of inspiration so tightly. I definitely welcome subjects that others (particularly in the Meetup Group) want to contribute that inspire them and not just me.

There are many angles one could take but here are some places in no particular order that I look:

I find that online I can get a bit distracted by it all, but if I have a few starting points to operate from and don't stray generally too far so as to retain focus. For one I use the Meetup site as a way to connect to other artists. It is a great way to meet people and connect in real life. This is so much better than doing all your searching online, because you actually get to mingle and make art together.

From there, I write names that people give me in my sketchbook as well as the names of people I meet. I look them up. If I find something striking then I have one set of artists to be inspired by. If I really like them then I pay attention to who is commenting on their website, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Blogger etc. Those of like minds tend to come together. Blogs also commonly have followers on a side panel. These are good sources.

See if you can get an RSS feed of the blogs you follow like the one at the bottom of this blog, so that you can pay attention to those blogs that update frequently. Don't forget to randomly check the other ones now and again though.

It might be worth typing a link in the format below into the Google browser to find who links to them as well as just typing their name.

link search format

I also pay attention to communities such as these:

Here artists gather in theme oriented groups. Usually names and references of good things flow around these places. I also bookmark them on the side of my blog.

Also there are places like delicious.com and other link repositories.

Sometimes typing a subject you like into Google image search will bring up art images by people you are not familiar with. You can instantly browse for striking subjects.

Artists Magazines as well as competitions are good as well as local artist organizations.

If you want to get some subjects that are out of your normal avenues of thinking, find a blog that you follow on a subject unrelated to art specifically but that is compellingly written. Search for art themed on similar themes discussed there. For instance if they are writing about paleontology, then look up prehistoric art, follow a series of links and find something to be inspired by.

Use Google Alerts to update you on topics related to a particular subject of interest in a timely fashion. You will learn about some new sources of info.

Divine it. Toss some coins, and see what the I Ching says, type it into a search engine. Find something out of the box that way. Seriously!

Too often internet pages circulate around a narrow range of topics. Discussion can be geared toward promoting certain things related to the day and its consuming events. For this reason definitely read some classical literature for inspiration. Take up an art magazine from 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 5 years ago, whatever! Get out of the limitations of your time and current thinking. Visit a used book store and read something that hasn't got attention in a while. Often what is striking is what brings attention to the things we are immune to seeing. We may forget what we have forgotten and so our thinking and current experience has no power to illuminate our minds until we look again from the perspective of a different time and place. We see what we didn't think was similar, and expose also what we mistakenly thought was.

Once you have a set of inspirations go deep as well as wide!

1 comment:

Jill said...

Useful ideas here. I especially liked the used book store recommendation. The library can serve a similar function (at least ours, with its somewhat dated pubs). I like the idea of looking backward when I (my stuff and the stuff I know) feel stale ... my tendency has been to seek out the new new thing ... Thanks for this posting.