Friday, August 08, 2008

Where the Inspiration Is

I'm in the midst of starting some new pieces, but have been in a bit of a creative funk lately. I've been having a show pretty much ever other month this year, which is great, but has caused alot of disruption in my creative process. I've been using the shows as motivation & deadlines to create new pieces. So I paint madly for a month or so, drop everything off, hang it, go to the opening on next to no sleep... and then promptly pass out for 2 weeks. Then I repeat. So it has been this constant stop and start all year instead of a fluid and steady work flow.

So when it comes to ramping up for another show after a period of sitting in pajamas watching Project Runway reruns while painting my toenails, I have a hard time diving back in and picking up where I left off. I'm working on a piece (or pieces...?) for a small September show and I'm stuck. I rarely get stuck. But it's not that I don't have ideas. It's that I am not fired up, and that is causing some doubt about my direction. I need to feel inspired.

When I need inspiration, I don't go to galleries or art museums.

I try something new or go somewhere I've never gone before. Like the Natural History Museum.

T-Rex Shadow

So there are dinosaur bones that are millions of years old, and I decide take a photo of their shadow. But with the big dinosaur exhibits closed, most of what I saw were displays with contemporary animals, some which were endangered but none were extinct.

Polar Bears

I liked the polar bears, but I don't know if they were really inspiring for paintings. Okay, so what I really wanted to see were woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers and dinosaurs. Where can I see the really really cool old dead things?

I guess they're not at the Natural History Museum. But this was:

Old Oil Derrick

Does this really fit in this museum? I'm not sure. But of all the things I saw, this is the sort of thing that should be extinct.

All in all, it was great to finally see this museum. But it wasn't what I expected, and it didn't get me fired up like I hoped. What I really wanted to see was something that made me contemplate how infinite and old the universe is. Because even though I hate feeling small and insignificant, I feel like much of my inspiration lately comes out of being uneasy or scared of things bigger than me.