Friday, April 2, 2010

Where did you come up with that?

Almost every interview of an artist in any given medium eventually asks the question, "Where do you get your ideas?". They want to know if it is spontaneous or deliberate. Personally I think that the real answer is "Yes". On there is a group called "Ring a Day" that challenges people to create a ring a day (You probably didn't need that part explained). In the challenge you are constantly scanning for new sources of inspiration. It is dead brilliant the things that people come up with. One of my favourites is by a man who created a bezel and baked a brownie in it. He even included a video of himself eating the brownie. That is definite "what box?" thinking.
I think that an artist has a constant eye scanning for colours, textures, themes and concepts that captures their attention. After a while it is a process that becomes second nature like a profiler reading body language. We may not have an immediate home for our new found creative treasure but we know how to access it when the appropriate medium presents itself.
For example, last spring I travelled to the Mediterranean with my mom and one of the items displayed everywhere was the ward against the evil eye. In Turkey it is called Nazar. The idea is to attach it to everything that you want protected. If it cracks it is supposed to have done its job and should be replaced.
The colour of the glass and the stylized eye really catch the attention. I loved the cobalt blue.
Without thinking about this I stored the image in my mind. Fast forward to today and I'm again preparing to go to Turkey but this time for three and a half weeks by myself. I wanted to make items to the trip that might be conversation starters with some of the artists with whom I plan to meet.
As one of my passions is rug hooking I decided to hook a purse. I bought a blank pattern from Jennifer Manuell at Fish Eye Rugs. When I went to design I realized that I was drawing nazars. I ended up with a contemporary pattern in greens, blues and purples. In a previous rug pattern I found myself drawn to circles and everything seemed to come together in this purse.
I know that when I'm in Istanbul and Cappadocia I'll absorb more than I realize. I'll take photos and write down random thoughts and sketch. I may not use any of it literally but I think it will all filter into my future work whether I know it or not. Where do artists get their ideas? Everywhere. How do you become creative? There are a lot of answers to that one but you train yourself to observe, and record your observations. Part of the joy of learning new techniques is the ability to see the familiar in your life with new eyes. It gives us the opportunity to share these new ideas with others. Our ideas come from what we see when we learn new ways of seeing.