inspiration that sparks joy
Like a lot of people, I've been trying to KonMari some of my possessions recently. In her books and her Netflix show, Marie Kondo shows a way to sort through and tidy away your belongings. Without going into the finer details, she asks that you put everything you want to sort through in a big pile, then take each item one by one want ask yourselves whether it sparks joy in you - she describes this as a physical and emotional sensation. If it sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn't, thank it for its service and put it aside for discarding.
Since I went part time from my job to concentrate more on my art it’s taken me a long time to work out the very basic questions of: what do I actually want to make? What do I want it to mean? What do I want it to look like? And I started off very much approaching it from an angle that you end up using at school or at uni, or at least I did - I found something I wanted to produce, or emulate, and then built my research and influences around that. In short it was end results focused with me kinda shoving square pegs in round holes to say that was what I was interested in making.
And then I went to Seville (as described in my previous blog post) and actually took the time to take pictures, and look around myself, and had the wonderful luck of finding an exhibition that fired something off in my brain and all those things together helped me to reflect on what else has caused that same feeling, like when I walked into a room of Matisse’s cutouts at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, but also when I feel sunlight on my skin or see my cat sunbathing on the window sill.
In the end one of the joys of being a creative person is that you can be inspired by loads of stuff and want to try out loads of stuff and have the ability to create almost anything you want. Museum trips, magazines, curative websites, Pinterest, the design you see around yourself when you walk through town - all of these bounce around your head and set off new ideas. Which is a wonderful thing to experience.
I think, however, you almost have to do a Marie Kondo on it and tip it all into a pile and find the things out of those that spark joy, that give you that real full body glow. And within those things you might be able to find common threads and patterns, and they should be your starting point. Pick them up and feel that spark of joy and use them to inform your end result.
I’m not saying that it’s bad to try new stuff, or pick up on what styles and subjects are popular and play around with them, that’s loads of fun and you can learn a ton from it. I guess I’m just saying that within all those things you look at and try out there’s patterns and that might help you if you’re feeling stuck.
And look - here's my cat sunbathing on the windowsill. I drew this in Procreate for the iPad Pro.