It's no secret that artists inspire each other. But we draw inspiration from many other sources as well. I have been inspired by some pretty obscure things. My shower curtain inspires me. If Marie Antoinette had a shower curtain it might have looked like mine, it's a fine ivory mesh with pink embroidered roses. It conveys a feeling that I sometimes want to capture.
I have been inspired by color combinations of rooms, clothes, furniture...you name it. I have been inspired by the perfect pink shade of a tube of lip gloss. I have been inspired by characters or settings in books. Sometimes I want to capture the feeling of something, or the texture. While I greatly admire and collect many of my peers pieces, I am rarely inspired by other bears for my own works.
But where does an actual idea come from? Frequently my best ideas hit me like a bolt of lightning when I am doing something else entirely and not even thinking about work. It's as if the sky opens up and drops the idea into my brain. Maybe the key to getting ideas is to not focus directly on what you are trying to do?
The latest two ideas I had came about just that way. I was laying in bed for the first one, thinking about the chapter in my book I had just read when there it was out of no where. I was so excited about the idea I ran out the next day and picked up the supplies I needed to create the piece. (It's cut out, and laying on my work table. You will be seeing it soon if it turns out the way I hope.)
The second idea came when I was thumbing through a magazine. Most likely something I saw sparked it, but I am not sure what. I got the supplies for that too, and have also begun work on those. (With some luck you will be seeing that this week too.)
It doesn't always work that way though. I remember one evening sitting and watching TV when an idea for something un-bear related came to me. It's a clever idea and one I know would be very popular. I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like it. But I also know I will never bring it to fruition.
Over the years I have had many ideas for things that would be very fun to make. But I don't make all of them. Some I hold in reserve, and make months or even years later.
So what is the inspiration behind an idea that prods us to get up out of our chair and bring one idea from imagination into reality and not another? I like to chalk it up to an occasional bout of laziness, but in truth that's just an excuse.
As artists every time we make something we take a chance. We run the risk that our ideas won't be as well received as other things we have made. Perhaps there is a fear of failure in all of us that keeps us from jumping up and making every idea we have. If we didn't have that insecurity, imagine what we could get done!
I have been rather nervous about the new piece laying on my table, it's a departure from what I usually make...and yet in the end it probably won't be. It will most likely reflect my style just like everything else I make. At this stage it's a matter of perception however.
I will finish it though, because I know deep down that life is better for taking chances. Maybe that's the greatest inspiration of all...taking a chance to do something a little different once in a while, and putting yourself out there with it. After all, the people who most inspire me are the people who do that despite the possibility of rejection.