Finding Inspiration

apple, globe, kevin van aelst, photographer, panopticon gallery

Kevin Van Aelst, Apple Globe, 2007

Finding Inspiration when you think all the good ideas have already been taken.

I’m not sure what to write.
I’m not sure what to photograph.
I’ve been staring at a blank canvas all day.
I feel like I’m writing the same song over and over.

I’m not sure this applies to any of you reading this, but artists sometimes get themselves in a bit of a quandary––low and behold: Artist’s Block. You know, kinda like “writer’s block”, but on a more diversified scale. You, yes you, the artist over there that looks down in the dumps. You’re getting in your own way. You’ve set up roadblocks for yourself. You’ve convinced yourself that there is nothing original to be said––that it’s “all been done before.” Come on now, you’re an ARTIST!

With a show of hands, who hasn’t felt like this? If you find yourself in one of these predicaments, try to remember that “ah-hah” moment you had a few months or days back when you actually had a moment of brilliance––that time when things were clear and your artistic mojo was working for you. Recall that moment, harness it for half a minute, then get back to work. If that doesn’t help, go for a stroll to your nearest bookstore, gallery or museum. Breathe in the art. Let it consume every morsel of your being. Don’t you feel better already. Are you ready to create?

People who define themselves as “artists” have an innate ability that others do not have. Some think that you can learn to be an artist, but I believe you are born with with an artistic genome––schooling just helps you mold and fine tune what is already there.

Artists are gifted, talented and unique individuals. If we didn’t have them in this world, life would be pretty boring. Actually, someone smarter than me once said: “Earth without art would be Eh

All the inspiration that you need is already inside you. You just have to be determined enough to let it out.

A Thankful Reflection

I have been connected to a lot of people in my life. My most important connections, besides my family and closest friends, are the peers, mentors and the network of artists, photographers, collectors and educators that I have met along the way. I am very thankful to all of you, especially on a day like today.

frank white, turkey, panopticon gallery, photograph

Frank Sherwood White, Turkey, from the series Inflatables.

Daily Rituals

daily rituals, book, artists, mason curreySomeone made a comment about my friend Mark a while back. They said that he was “eccentric”. Now this someone wasn’t me––but I understand why they said that. Yes, he does keep spreadsheets about a few things like his running schedule, for starters. As a person who runs a lot, he has his running schedule planned out for an entire year––and it’s a rare moment if he deviates from it. He also keeps a spreadsheet for all of the books that he reads. I don’t find this as quirky as the running schedule––I’ve actually started to keep my own list. Then, there is a spreadsheet for the cities that he has lived in and the sports teams who have won championships while he was living in a particular city. Okay––so what––he’s eccentric. He’s not the only one.

I include a whole chapter on my friend Mark in my yet-to-be published book Instant Connections. You’ll get to read more about him sometime in the near future. You’re now probably asking, where am I going with this? Well, Mark and I were at the bookstore the other day and he was searching for a book called Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. It’s a book about writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers and scientists on how they create. That’s what the back cover of the book says. Essentially, how they set time aside each day to create their art. Some of these “artists” were organized and some, not so much. Currey analyzed over 160 such artists for his book––so far it’s a great read.

I’m usually a very organized person. I keep a daily planner and check things off once they get done. You need to set goals, whether they are short term or long term. I feel they keep you motivated and give you a sense of accomplishment. As I began writing my book, I was very organized––wrote every day. Now that I’m in the editing process, I’ve been slackin’. This is very unlike me. We both bought a copy of this book––I did it to see how others’ worked and to find some inspiration and quite possibility a new daily ritual that I could put into practice. Mark did it so that he could prove that even with all of his so called “eccentricities” he was now, “looking saner and saner by the minute.”