Where Do You Find Your Creative Inspiration?


Ever since early childhood I’ve had this insatiable need to create things.  Throughout life I’ve dabbled in just about every discipline, from music, to video editing, to drawing and painting wall graphics.  The only thing that I haven’t done yet is singing.  Well, if you count singing Guns and Roses in the shower, then I guess I’ve experimented with that too.  But don’t let that get out, sweet child o’ mine, as I don’t have the time for any band tryouts at the moment.  

What I discovered is that being involved in a creative project isn’t just something that I enjoy doing – it’s something that I need it in my life in order to be truly happy deep inside.  That would explain why Art was always my strongest subject in school early on.  The at-home dialogues at report card time usually started off with something like, “Look, Mom!  I got an A in Art!  And I flunked the shit out of Science!”  And yet, despite the number of days I spent being grounded because of my disdain for repetitive, boring-ass T-tables, I’ve always thrown myself into a creative project to find that inner satisfaction.  Whether you realize it or not, chances are likely that the same applies to you too. 

MELTED BOI

Pssh! Anybody can do that…

The way I see it, we’re all creators, and everybody has creative ability.  Art takes on so many different forms beyond drawing and painting too:  needlework, costume jewelry-making, floral arrangements, dancing at the bar or in your living room, doodling, coordinating interior paint colors, picking out clothing, cooking from scratch, clay modeling and pottery, coloring, writing poetry, video editing, buying bath towels – all of these things require some type of creative process.  Given the number of opportunities that we’re offered up everyday, I find it mind-boggling to hear somebody say something dumb like, “I’m just not very creative.”  

Stop right there.  Every human being on this planet is creative.

It’s a requisite – an ability that we’re all born with – and the same intrinsic needs that it satisfies within me, it satisfies within everybody else.  The flavor might be different, but the need is there, and everybody has the potential to excel at some type of creative hobby.  The goal shouldn’t be about becoming the next Rembrant or Michelangelo, but instead, it should be about personal expression, and about developing and learning what defines you and the type of art that fits your style.

And some people define their art by sculpting Gorillas.  Out of tinfoil.

And some people define their art by sculpting Gorillas. Out of tinfoil.

Inevitably, sadly, from time to time that the well of ideas eventually runs dry, and the dreaded block occurs, stifling the creative flow.  Sometimes it feels like it will never end and it’s frustrating as hell.  When it happens, instead of dampening the canvas with tears, or cramming a paint brush into our eyeballs, sometimes it’s awesome to step aside from a project and go out into the real or virtual world and find something inspiring.  It’s so easy to get consumed or preoccupied with your own ideas, and forget that there are a lot of other people out there with great ideas too.

Since we’re all Creative Geeks here, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions:

1.)  What is the most fulfilling creative outlet in your life?  and,

2.)  Where do you turn for inspiration when you’re blocked?

In the meantime, here are some awesome YouTube Videos that I always check out whenever I need a kick-start:

Led Zeppelin, The Immigrant Song – Austrailia ’72

If I’m drumming and my hands are stiff, I always turn to John Bonham to kick me back into form.  THIS is heavy metal, and probably the best live Zeppelin I’ve ever heard.

“Fresh Guacamole” by PES

Stop motion films are just incredible to me, and this is one of the absolute best.  There is an explosion of creative happening here, and every time I watch it, it’s hard not to smile.

“Rejected” by Don Hertzfeldt

If you’re into dark comedy, and/or animation, this one is a must see.  I absolutely love this guys drawings.  Stick around for the ending – it’s the best part.

“Rubber Johnny”  by Chris Cunningham & Aphex Twin

This one is just weird.  You should probably watch this one at your own risk if you have trouble sleeping at night, but it’s definitely creative as hell.

 

53 comments

  1. NotAPunkRocker

    1. Right now, writing. The good stuff and the not-so-great posts. It’s all mine and some of it is better left on the page than in my mind. I want to take photography and painting classes one day, hopefully before too long.

    2. Music is a huge thing for me, but color is another one. Right now, it is kind of dark outside. The ground is muddy and the snow that is left isn’t pretty. Very dull landscape, yet,there is a bright pink bicycle chained to a tree right outside my window. That gets my attention and allows my mind to wander: what does that color remind me of? Which flowers are that color? Who owns that bike? What brought them to this school? What school would I go to if I had a chance to attend college for free? And so forth. I am just weird and random that way.

    • Chowderhead

      1.) Writing has been my gig for the past year plus, but I go through these funk spells and then I need to take something else on to switch things up. Photography is on my list too, but like every other hobby I do, it requires a thousand dollars to start. Unfortunately, I don’t normally piss quarters, so it might have to wait. I paint professionally everyday, so the last thing I want to hold in my hand is a paint brush!

      2.) I think that’s really interesting that you mention that color inspires you. Colors in your home have an effect on you, and depending on the room, we always suggest certain palettes. Vibrant colors in dining areas are supposed to wake up your senses and make you hungrier, where neutrals in a bedroom have a calming effect.

      Keep that shit in mind the next time you paint! Or of course, hire it out *wink wink

      P.S. Fuck this snow.

  2. Ned's Blog

    I used to think the reason I stay involved with so many different things — firefighting, going to my kids’ school events, blogging, volunteering with organizations, competing in open-handed boxing tournaments — was because I have a wide range of interests and enjoy contributing to my community. Sadly, I’ve discovered I’m really just searching for writing material…

    • Chowderhead

      Whoa whoa, hold up a second – you pee on who?

      I’m just kidding. I’m pickin’ up what you’re layin’ down Sizzle Dubwizzle, fa shizzle. Keep it tizzle, ma dizzle.

  3. JackieP

    For me it’s writing and painting. Once I found writing, I never turned back. I find I can write about my life, my past, or just make up things. It’s about the words, putting words together so they make some sort of sense and the kick out of having people read those words and enjoying them too.

    I get my inspiration out of just about anything. I picture I’ve seen, an overheard snippet of conversation, a dream, a stray thought, my dog Sam, anything really! I’m very rarely blocked on something to write, so that’s a blessing. If I am, I just go look at art, or pictures and my block don’t last long. People too, I love watching people, they are fascinating and I’m always making up stories in my head about them.

    • Chowderhead

      I almost made a living watching people, Jackie P. In that department, I’ll never run out of ideas. I could probably stare at a dude sitting on a park bench and write a novel about him blowing his nose and picking his butt.

      What kind of paintings do you do?

      Oh yeah, by the way, I had to run a virus scan on my comp, and it took about four hours. I have a sketch of your banner, but I won’t be able to send anything until tomorrow or Saturday. Sorry!

      • JackieP

        Hey no problem! I’m just happy you are willing to do it for me.

        I do acrylics on canvas, usually wildlife, like wolves and such. I can also do paintings from photos as I can’t draw worth a flip. :-)

  4. Twindaddy

    1.) What is the most fulfilling creative outlet in your life? Blogging. Occasionally manipulating images in photoshop.

    2.) Where do you turn for inspiration when you’re blocked? Alcohol, the news, other blogs, my children…anywhere I can look.

  5. Tom Merriman

    Hmm, I think I’m quite creative in some areas, Adam, but not musically and I can’t cook for toffee. I’m at my most creative when I’m in the flow with what I’m doing, and I just ‘do’ it. When I write, the stories tend to write themselves (well, my characters lead the story!), when I ‘doodle’ the pictures draw themselves. Sometimes, I’m not happy with the end result, but the getting there was fun! As for inspiration, well, that’s a stumbling block for me. Sometimes ideas are just there – other times it’s a fight to get even a glimmer of one. I get through though, I have to, as it’s the doing that I enjoy! I shall be back to check out your videos – I’m a bit pushed for time right now!

    • Chowderhead

      Thanks for dropping by, Tom! If you do come back, just watch those stop motion videos. Anything by PES is insanely cool.

      Is Toffee the person you’re dating right now? I think she’d appreciate a fried egg or something once in awhile – get on that pronto!

      Keep pushing through the lows, man. I try other stuff out when the writing ain’t happening, and it usually gets me back on track. Try it!

  6. Katie

    1. Writing, for sure. Always been.

    2. I can honestly say I don’t even really feel “blocked.” More often, I feel so overwhelmed by having so many different ideas about things I want to write about that I don’t even know which one to start first. I’m trying to write a book right now, and it’s already changed twice, and I think I’m going in a different direction now as of today. What helps me sometimes is literally forcing myself to slow down, watch a few hours of TV, and turn the creative side of my brain off for a while. Once I take that break, I can dive back into doing what I love with a fresh perspective.

    • Chowderhead

      First, welcome aboard the LAP choo choo train of death and destruction! Very cool to have you a part of it, Lil sis.

      That’s one thing I picked up about you almost right off the bat – you write a lot. I mean, not just bullshit posts either, like, solid ideas that are lengthy. I can’t work that fast. Sometimes it flows, other times it’s a chore.

      And I agree with your regrouping idea. It’s like doing homework sometimes. If something doesn’t make sense to me at the moment, I’ll usually step away from the story problem and drink about five or six beers, and then I know exactly how many hours sooner the first train will arrive in Boston. The correct answer is I don’t give a flying fuck.

  7. Eva

    Everything interests me. My husband and daughter, our friends, our cool neighbors, science, politics, (that gets me sort of angry) but really everything. It’s not so much being blocked but placing huge standards upon myself to create something ‘masterful’. Once I tell myself to settle down and calm down, I find the creativity flowing easily. Music, though, is a huge part of my inspiration.

  8. ddupre315

    1. I haven’t really found it yet I guess. I’m not artistic in any artsy kinda way like with paint, dance, sculpting, drawing, music, writing, photography, etc. I have tried many things to see if any stick but nothing really grabs me. In fact, I get frustrated with most things because I expect perfection from myself and creative outlets tend to not be perfect. Maybe cooking but I don’t really do my own thing with it, just follow recipes well.

    Maybe this should be a quest…on the other hand do I really want to subject myself to a barrage of not being the best at things?

    2. Not applicable…see 1.

    • Chowderhead

      I have this shit habit of doing something cool, and then comparing it to something cooler. I’m getting better though, and that’s what I was trying to say in the post: it doesn’t matter if its perfect or the best – you just do it to do it, and have fun. It’s your style. I think once you get into that habit, you’ll find all kinds of shit to get into \m/

  9. Amy Reese

    Adam, I think we live in a world that doesn’t easily allow for people to be creative. You know, it feels like a struggle to allow yourself to do it. I don’t agree with it at all. I dance around my living room all the time, and I try to write as much as I can, which isn’t enough. I wish I could draw or paint. Now, that would be cool. That last video was extremely trippy!

    • Chowderhead

      Amy! Sorry, I have been preoccupied with so many odds and ends. I know, excuses excuses…

      I’m curious, what do you mean by living in a world where people can’t be creative?

      • Amy Reese

        Ha! You’re just forgetting about me is all! Hmmph.

        Well you know, Adam, how it goes. We’re always encouraged to do the safe, practical thing. That’s what I meant by that. When you are a creative type, this is especially difficult to do.

  10. singlegirlie

    Oh my shit that Don Hertzfeld video made me pee a little! Why didn’t you tell me I should drop a hit of acid before watching? Brilliant.

    I love it all – dancing, writing, drawing, singing, making up songs for my cat.

    • Chowderhead

      Jenn! Sorry for putting you off for so long. I wasn’t trying to ignore you! Did your inspiration come back, or are you still lookin’ for a kickstart? Did you watch any of the videos?

  11. Deanna Herrmann

    Hi! I’m new here, but thought I’d share my answer.
    1. Definitely writing….even if I don’t post it or share it, just as long as I get it out.

    2. Music is huge for me and a definite source of inspiration. Sometimes I look through photos or images online and see a story and get an idea. Other times I find that silence while doing nothing or something simple like looking out the window can fuel my creativity.

    I really liked this post. I always say I’m not creative. In fact, I was convinced I couldn’t write fiction. I just started trying it out the past few weeks and I’m hooked!

    • Chowderhead

      Hi Deanna! Welcome, and make yourself at home! Coffee? Beer? A pair of slippers? Anything I can offer you?

      We’ve been mingling around each other, but I think this is the first time we chatted, so hello!

      Thanks a ton for reading and commenting here, and I can relate to what you’re dishin’. I love writing fiction, but in the past, it never really fit in, unfortunately. I run a tight shtick around here. (haha, shtick, like ‘ship’, but shtick instead..get it? nm…)

      Drop me some links here to some of your fiction work. I’d love to give it read! \m/

      • Deanna Herrmann

        Haha, yes we have been mingling around each other. :-) And sure, I’d love a beer, but seeing as how it’s almost 6am here in Germany, I’ll stick with coffee. Are you still writing any fiction? I’ve only tried a few times, but if really like it. Sometimes it’s nice to escape my own realities. Anyway, here is the latest I wrote for the Speakeasy if you get the time: http://mymutedvoice.com/2014/02/25/what-lies-beyond/

      • Chowderhead

        Deanna, I write a little bit but I don’t post any of it anymore and I don’t know why? Some of it is actually pretty fucking funny. It’s kinda Hunter S Thompson-ish — there’s a few pieces on CH though that turned out pretty cool if you’re ever interested.

        By the way, Ich spreche ein wenig Deutsch…

        …mit Google Translator ;)

      • Deanna Herrmann

        Ummm Hunter S Thompson? You know, I’m from Vegas. Where can I find this brilliance?

        Lol….Ich verstehe nur ein bisschen Deutsch aba Ich lerne. Und?

  12. Lili

    Thanks for this post! And I do agree. I think all people are creative, at least to some extent. But perhaps they haven’t thought of their hobbies as creative, since it doesn’t involve classic stuff like painting, writing or playing the piano.

    As for me, photography and writing are the most fulfilling creative outlets. But I honestly take pleasure in pretty much anything creative: organizing the shelves in the book shop I work in, decorating my home or my note books, painting (and I’m definitely not even close to being a Rembrandt!), playing guitar, singing, dancing, cooking, putting together cool outfits, web designing, re-organizing my desk, solving puzzles, playing video games, cleaning out my bathroom, re-organizing the kitchen drawers, sorting out trash… the list goes on and needless to say, but my boyfriend thinks it’s pretty awesome that I am like this because that means I get shit done at home + it adds some beauty to our living environment. But it ain’t the 50′s anymore so he still has to do some work at home, even if I’m better at it. ;)

    To regain creativity and inspiration, I spend time in nature or listen to music. Preferably Prodigy. Preferably The Fat of the Land album. Spending time with other creative people is also good for me, especially when it comes to my best friend. We get a lot of cool ideas together, and when we don’t, I can be sure we at least discuss some interesting topic which sparkles my creativity. I love him for this (and a lot of other reasons, too).

    • Chowderhead

      Oh my god. I totally forgot about that album. I used to rock the SHIT out of Fat of the Land! YES. At the time, that stuff was sooo different – like, that Underground UK Dance scene – that kinda stuff intrigues me.

      But anyways, thanks for the comment, and you’re welcome! I agree too that a retreat to the woods is a good starting point. Who was that dude? I think it was Thoreau or RW Emerson, or both, that lived out in the woods and bird watched and wrote a big long book about living in the wild. That shit is cool. We’re so far from that now! I need a spatula to remove the iPhone from my hands anymore, and all it is in the end is a BIG ass headache.

      See you on the hiking trail? \m/

  13. anntogether.com

    Creativity is lodged in our gooey grey matter. I whole-heartedly agree with you. I tell all my little art students the very same. If ‘We are Creative’ were the world’s mantra we’d all be much happier and too busy to fight. You, dear Chowderhead splatter fabulous color throughout your blog and your art. All individuals are creative but some take their talents to another place.
    Thank you for sharing.
    AnnMarie
    newbie blogger hoping to deblah her blog soon by filling it with images, art, color…

    • Chowderhead

      AnnMarie, thank you!! That really put a smile on mah face! Are you an elementary Art teacher? Or do you only teach small people because it’s a preference of yours? I’m curious now..

      I completely agree. I get frustrated when I can’t dedicate time every week to an outlet, and sincerely think that’s why some people walk around with that perma-scowl. It feels good to create stuff. I can’t stop doing it, and if I did, I wouldn’t be me anymore.

      Good luck with your blogging venture \m/

  14. anntogether.com

    I give private children’s art lessons. I like bending young artistic minds until they snap back with paint flying from their fingers. Also they’re small enough to cover in clay if they misbehave ;-) Thanks for reading, Chowderhead. Oh yeah, Happy Fat Tuesday. I overdid Fat Tuesday last year and met Whale Wardrobe Wednesday…
    AnnMarie

  15. Pingback: Where Do You Find Your Creative Inspiration? | I worship irony

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