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What is inspiration in the creative industries?

Updated on 15 November 2016

The dictionary defines ‘Inspiration’ as, “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” I wish inspiration was that easily identifiable.

 
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For those in the creative industries, inspiration is a vital source to the development of work. It can be something that triggers a thought or something that enhances the growth of a project. It can turn the intangible into an object, or a sentiment into an optic reality. Once found, it feels like a drug; elevating your thoughts and witnessing the evolution before your eyes. So, what is inspiration? I decided to ask a few artists what their inspiration is to help me better understand.

“What is your inspiration?” is one of the most asked questions when interviewing an artist. In search for anything to create that desired spark, we ask others about their means of inspiration and often people are hesitant to reveal. While unfolding what inspires individual artists and noticing the similarity in their responses, it seems as if this mysterious thing is something that is truly unique to each individual.

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Eric Watters, a recent BFA graduate in Photography and visual artist based in Toronto, Canada answered, “My surroundings, people, places, things, inspire my practice. Anything new is inspiring.”

Abbey Midanik, a recent BFA graduate in Photography and visual artist currently based in London, England answered, “I find my inspiration within people. I think that’s why I’m constantly changing as a person and as an artist, especially having just moved to a new city. The work I want to create is influenced so heavily by the people I’m surrounded by.”

Holly Birtles, a London based visual artist and lecturer answered, “Painters. People I meet. Things I look at.”

Yunchieh Chang, a New York City based fashion designer for A’bout Design Corp. answered, “Inspirations are often drawn from my feelings at that particular moment…. which are results of stimulations from my surroundings consciously or subconsciously.”

While digesting these responses, I noticed that they were all very vague and indefinite. It became clear that where artists draw their inspiration from is very dependent on the individual’s life. The way in which we perceive something is unique to our past or current relationship with it. Meaning, it could be something that you have walked by everyday, but on one particular afternoon it makes you stop and it changes everything. If this is the case, maybe inspiration does not originate from some external source, but perhaps it is something from within you (There is your inspirational quote of the day).

I’ll never forget a story a good friend told me: if you desire something in particular, you will start seeing it everywhere you go. If you want a red car, you will notice every red car that drives by. Red cars have driven by all along, but because you have identified that you want it, you notice it extensively. Therefore, this idea of attraction starts with you.

Perhaps there is no trick behind finding inspiration. Yes, certain things may help the wheels turn; researching, exploring, etc., but it all already exists around you. It is up to you to welcome it.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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