In ancient Greece, there were the Muses. They would inspire the sculptures, painters, musicians and poets to create great works in their names and in the names of the gods. Things moved on, other societies has similar ideas, about the gods, or Lady Luck, or any thousand creatures, mythological or spiritual, that would slip their way into dreams and give people great ideas. Then, of course, there were the rebels, like Bob Marley or Thomas Paine, who created great works as a way of starting a revolution. There was Van Gogh, who took absinthe. e e cummings and Salvador Dali had new ways of looking at the world, unseen before them. Warren Ellis drinks a lot of beer.
What about the other artists out there? The garage bands, the writers squeaking it out in tiny studio apartments, or the photographer going to rallies and taking pictures of police and crowd? Where do they find inspiration? Yesterday I touched on the fact that I tend to find that I’m far more creative when I’m happy than when I’m down, and I think for me inspiration goes hand-in-hand with that.
The world is a very interesting place. It’s full of evil – war, greed, George W. Bush – but it’s also full of love – that woman that bought the 5 legged puppy so that a circus couldn’t get to it, Doctors Without Borders, the common hug. It’s a crazy place, filled with crazy things and crazy people. If you find yourself stuck and uninspired, do what I like to do best, and take a walk. Hop in your car or on the train/bus, go somewhere you normally don’t find yourself. Take a camera if you want (nothing professional, a point-and-shoot will be fine – this is for relaxation and recharging batteries).Â Take pictures, look around. Observe. Watch the way people interact with each other, the way birds will hop around and peck at things hesitantly, the way dogs trot beside their owners, incredibly happy just to be out and trotting.
I don’t have an artist’s statement. Most of them are bullshit anyway. Let’s be honest with one another, half the reason people write those things is to fuck with you and see how gullible you can be. The closest I’ve ever come to an artist statement is the following: “I want to show the world how beautiful it really is.” But that sounds ludicrously pretentious. Black beret wearing, latte drinking, turtleneck donning pretentious. Still, though, when you’re willing to say something like that, how far out of reach could inspiration really be?
About as far as the next tree. Or kitten. Or dripping icicle. Keep your eyes open, kids, you’re surrounded by awesome.