What do musicians, playwrights, dancers, songwriters, and artists have in common? They all work in a creative industry, and unfortunately finding inspiration for new work on a regular basis does not come easy to everybody. Accordingly, creative types have long sought new avenues from which to stir up their creativity, and one of the most obvious and popular options has always been to explore the work of others in a similar field.
Art differs from many other creative disciplines in that the time required to ingest and interpret a finished piece is entirely up to the individual viewing it. That is to say, a piece of music takes several minutes to listen to all the way through, whereas a picture or painting might have an immediate effect on its viewer upon their first glance.
Because of this, artists can look at many more examples when seeking inspiration for their latest piece. This can be a double-edged sword, too; information overload is a common problem in our modern internet age, and artists are even more likely to suffer from this than musicians or dancers. In this environment, finding the right place to start can be a daunting experience – hopefully these suggestions will help!
Let’s kick things off with a name that everyone is likely to already know – the Spanish painter, sculptor, ceramicist, and theatre designer Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Many, perhaps most, people can name or describe one or two of Picasso’s paintings, but how much time have you really spent studying his work?
Picasso spent much of his adult life in France, after moving to the Northern coastal town of A Coruña in 1891. Pablo’s father Ruiz was a painter, and Pablo was keen to follow in his footsteps from a young age. His work is said to have matured when the young artist was just twelve years old, but unfortunately there are few known surviving examples of his work pre-1900.
Historians regard his “Blue Period” (1901-1904) as the starting point of Picasso’s career as a professional artist. Picasso seemingly took a cyclical approach to seeking out new ideas, with each of his many successive periods blending elements of his older work with newer features and ideas that the artist had found inspirational in recent times.
Even whilst he was still alive, Picasso is said to have inspired other artists who saw his work – a rare occurrence in those days. He is said to have been one of the most prolific artists of all time, leaving over 45,000 unsold works on his estate at the time of his death.
Jumping forward to the present day, Israeli sculptor Dorit Levinstein is best known for her innovative take on working with bronze. Bronze is perhaps the most widely used metal for artistic sculpting due to its tendency to expand before setting and constrict as it cools. These properties bring out intricate detail engraved by the artist, whilst also making it much easier to remove the casting mold without erasing those same details.
Unlike most artists who came before her, Levinstein likes to paint her bronzes using a bright and colorful palette. Much of her work includes representation of human or animal forms, with the human figurines often suggesting inspiration from her earlier work as a professional dancer.
Some of Dorit’s work is in the hands of private collectors, but many more can be found in museums and fine art galleries around the world. She has also created several larger pieces intended for placement and viewing outdoors in recent years. If you are a sculptor with “artists block”, there surely cannot be many better sources of inspiration and fresh ideas than Dorit Levinstein’s work.
Banksy is without question the art world’s greatest enigma of modern times. The anonymous artist has publicly and repeatedly stated his views on our consumer-led society. He is an anarchist with strong anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarianism, and anti-fascist views, and once described his graffiti art as a method of revenge against the upper classes.
One of Banksy’s most well-known stunts included building a shredder into the frame of his piece “Girl with Balloon”, which was activated by an unknown third-party at the auction house just seconds after the artwork had sold for $1.4 million. The anti-capitalist message this was intended to convey seems obvious.
On another occasion, Banksy set up a market stall selling his original artworks for $60 in Central Park, New York City. Despite this stunt taking place in one of art’s capital cities, it was almost four hours before a single painting was sold from the stall. Once again, it seems unnecessary to explain the message behind this stunt
Banksy apparently intended to send a more serious message when he visited Israel and painted at least twelve pieces on the barrier wall that separates the country from the neighboring Palestinian territories. Whatever the message may be, Banksy manages to make it in such a way – and with such enormous strength – that he has even managed to increase the profile of art in general, all over the world. You can’t get much more inspirational than that.