How Do Artists Find Their Inspiration?

Okay–let’s riff on the idea of inspiration for a minute. As artists, do we need it or not? Some would say yes, of course! Although, most working artists admit that being successful in their art comes from just putting in the time and doing the work.

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.Chuck Close

So what are your thoughts on inspiration? I had the chance to interview artists from all over the world in reference to this Chuck Close quote. The answers were undeniably varied and really shed light on this topic.

Ana Patricia Angulo Nicosia from León, Guanajuato explains, “I try to work around my feelings. Sometimes I don’t have any idea of what I’m doing at the beginning of a illustration and I work the composition improvising. (sometimes it turns out great, some other times not so good) and when I plan a illustration is when I really have the idea on my mind, it is harder that way because I have the feeling of turning it out as expected. But the main tip for me is to get it out from inside, from the guts!”

Josh Gaston from Jacksonville, Florida says,  “I Disagree whole heartedly…. 75% of what I do has a basic idea, evolving and taking shape as the materials become more refined, inspiration (for me) usually ties in one way or another to where and how I grew up and more times than not that comes on during the project… transformation more so than application.”

Marissa Crisafulli from Los Angeles, California says, “Yes. I’m in a lifelong relationship with inspiration. Some days, it’s not there. BUT, because I’ve banked so much inspiration for decades, I have lots to pull from. So even the most uninspired days can still be creative.  I’ve been pulling from Pinterest. It’s how I discover films I like the looks of, artists I’ve never heard of, and it takes no travel or money to dive in. But films themselves inspire me, antique shops, museums….”

Amy Dixon based in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.  “I agree, but I think it’s also important to understand if there are certain things that help “spark” your creative process. For me, it’s nature. So I’ll seek out a long walk in a park or a drive out to the country side if I’m feeling uninspired. But I do agree with Chuck about showing up and doing the work too.”

Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.Chuck Close

So what are your thoughts on inspirations and creative blocks? Perhaps a mixture of divine intervention and just getting to work is the secret sauce to creative success. A helpful resource we at Artview42 recently discovered was the book Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists. Do you have any tips or thoughts on this topic? Comment below or send us an email

Main Cover Image: Copyright Amanda Rosenblatt 

Banner Images: Copyright Carmen Joyce

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.