Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inspiration and Community

We all get our inspiration from different places. I took a workshop last year where we discussed this extensively. What is the difference between copying someone else's work and just being inspired by their work? The perimeters the instructor put out for herself was to change three things about the work...the size, shape, color, material...that inspired her to create something of her own. That's a good rule of thumb, but why not just do our own thing? I saw a bracelet that I just loved. I thought to myself, I can do that. Yeah, right. We all know how that works out.

I get my inspiration from the world around me. Recently I have been reading a blog: Adele's work is pictured above. This artist inspires me with the goals she has set out for herself. She is not afraid to share her successes and her failures. She gives the reader a glimpse into her day as an artist, and she is very good about posting pictures to go with her words. She has inspired me to be more diligent about taking photos so I too can share things along the way with both words and pictures. She also has a Buy It Now button attached to her blog so readers can purchase her art directly. That is a trick I have not figured out yet.

There is a vast virtual art community at the tips of our fingers. I have been asked recently by several viewers of my art if I sell on the internet or if I have a website. I could sell my stuff for big bucks if I just put myself out there. Yes, that is true and a dilemma I have been wrestling with for many years now. I see the advantage of having a web presence. I love it when other artists have a website I visit to see where they are showing or if they have the perfect piece I want to purchase. But I am not ready for that kind of market. I love talking with guests that stop at my booth. There is a personal interaction that happens when someone looks at my work, loves it or hates it, (whatever the case may be) and I get to watch that inner reaction. Most times people share what they are feeling or thinking or ask questions. I love talking about how I do my work or what materials I use or where I come up with my ideas. Those conversations fuel me for the times when I am alone in my studio. It is a good way to balance not thinking too much of ourself and our work to knowing that other people appreciate it, too.

I recently created a piece to enter an event where I was also going to be a vendor. After spending untold hours designing, second guessing, and creating my show piece, I was really proud of the finished product. I photographed it and sent in the forms for the show. But I didn't share it to anyone. I just put it in my personal display case in the studio and continued on my creating way. When it was time for the event, I was almost shaking when I dropped it off. Seeing it in the gallery for the first time was like receiving the world's acceptance, and it agreed with me that it was good. I got lots of comments about it, mostly good. But the best came from the patron who purchased it. Once it was placed on her neck, she refused to take it off. She happily displayed it and stopped for others to look at it. She talked about what she liked about it and left the event with a smile. I may never see her again but she totally made my day, my week, maybe even my year. 

So cruise through books, magazines, galleries, blogs and see what artists are creating in your area. Join the artist community and have a conversation or discussion. Thank an artist for their hard work and voice your opinion.
Buy what you like but go home and create what you feel.

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