To all Weekly Inspiration Digest readers, as you can see from all of the new announcements on this blog, I’m getting pretty busy over here at Blue Bicicletta! With trying to prepare for a transition to art full-time, many new projects, and planning the final details of my wedding in September, I’ve decided to take some time off from this weekly column to give myself more time for other pursuits.
Thanks so much for exploring these ideas with me, and I hope I have inspired you to keep looking for inspiration and appreciating life! Once I return from my honeymoon and start doing art full-time in October, I will reassess my projects and decide on how I want to continue with this topic. For now, please do take a look at all of the Weekly Inspiration Digest posts if you haven’t had a chance to read them yet! Thanks again for your support! Here is Weekly Inspiration Digest #10. Enjoy!
Now that I’ve been making and sharing art for a while, I often get asked questions about inspiration. Where does my inspiration come from to make the art that I do? It’s hard to answer this question specifically—inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere, but mostly from making art. Basically art leads to more art. It’s through making one thing that you find another, and through constantly placing yourself in a creative mindset that more creative thoughts develop.
But when I begin to think about where and when I get some of my best ideas, it’s not often while sitting at a desk with a pen, or sitting at a desk staring at the wall, waiting for an idea to come. The ideas come when life is happening, most often encouraged by movement.
There’s some amazing dynamic that happens when you make your body busy with one activity, like walking, biking, or swimming. Something slow and meditative, something you don’t have to think about too much. The movement keeps the busy-body part of you occupied, and lets your creative brain wander and roam.
When I first started this blog, I picked the name “blue bicicletta” because I love riding my bike (and I love the Italian word for bike, and the color blue), but I hadn’t fully wrapped my head around how my bike would be an essential tool in my art-making. Now I know, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with creative ideas while biking across town. My feet keep pedaling along the same route I take every day, and I relax into the routine movement, letting my brain open wide into thought.
Sometimes a word will come into my head, and then I’ll start matching it with other words and images, and I’ll keep cycling them around in my head, just like my feet are cycling on the pedals. This is how I’ve “written” many of the little bits of poetry for my word drawings—all the way home from work I repeat the words and refine them, my feet on the pedals churning me along, and churning up ideas. It’s like I’ve entered some other realm, and there’s just me moving through space with the words and pictures working themselves out.
Similar things happen to me when I’m walking or swimming. It’s the ultimate multi-tasking, but really, it’s a kind of symbiosis—the repeated movement generates the ideas, and the ideas in my head make the movement feel even more dynamic. These are the moments that I love—I feel like I’m some sort of a receptor, like I’m full of electricity, and I’m able to weave things together to create some meaning that’s bigger than any one idea.
It’s always funny, but so true how ideas come when you least expect them, when you let go of trying to make them. This is not to say that you should only make art when you have a brilliant idea, because the brilliant ideas come when you’ve been creating regularly. Creating gets your head into a place that generates new thoughts.
There must be some willingness, when all else fails, to sit down and put your pen on the paper and see what comes. When you’ve done that, then you’ll be ready when the lightening strikes some day on a walk or ride. You’ll have opened the door and you’ll know what to do with the lightening. You’ll walk home in a daze, and sit down, and put pen to paper without needing to think.
So in answer to that first question, “where does my inspiration come from?” I say, it comes from anywhere and everywhere, but mostly it comes from being a working artist. I’m constantly trying to open the door and then allow my brain the time to roam, creating space and place for lightening to strike.