Just a quick internet search can tell you that there is no end to the amount of talented artists in the world. Instagram in particular has been great for unearthing these exquisitely talented humans who happen to document their creations and I love to ‘follow’ them.
There is an infinite amount of inspiration that you can gain from looking at and enjoying the work of others, without copying/plagiarising. (A post about this topic in particular to be uploaded soon..) Taking inspiration isn’t about stealing, or at least shouldn’t be! It is noting the feeling you get when you see a particular piece of art and translating that into your own work in your own way. A painting might have an electric energy with movement that leaps out at you. Another might have solemn or moody overtones that gave you a sense of atmosphere when you looked at it. It is more often than not the ‘vibe’ of the painting that you most likely enjoyed. Inspiration should be transferring that feeling/vibe/energy in your own way, to your own style in your own work.
Alternatively, inspiration from the art that you would hope to apply physically should be small ‘moments’ within the art. There might be a certain mark, or a way that a colour is blended. Even a certain colour palette that you could note and use in a section of your work. Adding all of these small inspirations together is what can make your own art and your own unique style. That and so many other qualities that are personal to you. (The way you hold your pen, the pace you work at, the materials you use, everything contributes to an individual style)
I would consider it an important part of my ‘process’ to sit down with a coffee and my iPad and look through tags such as #art or #oilpainting and watch what people have been creating just that day. I stumble upon both hugely inspiring artists and people starting out and making progress, which is amazing to watch. I find inspiration in seeing techniques first hand and learning about the kinds of materials that others might use for a different finish. To garner together this sort of inspiration in the same way you would gather information means that you can project your own potential as to where you could be if you continued to work hard and become more seasoned in what you do. You can also learn to let go of seeing the creations that are dissimilar to your own choice of style as something you dislike. This is done often by many. If you can step away from your own work and appreciate the work of others as something you can’t do (without jealousy) or something you don’t understand (because you don’t need to) and instead just appreciate the time and talent that goes into it, then you will benefit hugely in considering how your own work might be viewed.
One of the artists I have found a lot of inspiration in is Michael Zavros. An Australian painter with a number of awards, exhibitions, residencies and reputable commissions under his belt. His intricate floral paintings in particular are so realistic its hard to believe they’re not a photograph.
My work is completely different to Zarvos’s, but I have taken some inspirations through following his instagram page, mainly his concentrated composition. I adored the serenity of his work and from observing his style I saw he kept his backgrounds very crisp and clear. His work is so finely detailed that it clearly didn’t need any overpowering backgrounds, but it adds so much to the finished effect. I find his paintings mesmerising to look at. Although I haven’t left my backgrounds as crisp as his nor ever worked in hyper realist detail, I felt inspired in some pieces to keep my backgrounds as ‘quiet’ as possible to direct attention to the areas I wanted focusing on.
I find photo realism to be an intense experience to look at, I have so much admiration and appreciation for the techniques that go into creating something of such accuracy. Zavros’s floral paintings are not only proportionately perfect but the colours and tones are all as close to real as the real thing. The sheer amount of careful effort overwhelms me.
I LOVE this guys work, and so many other artists. Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest are all great ways of finding artists to fall in love with and to be inspired by. The creative process doesn’t always have to be a completely brand new idea, it is not shameful to credit the people who influenced certain sections of your creative journey towards a finished piece which then actualised into something that is indeed your own unique style. There are millions of artists you haven’t yet uncovered who might shape a huge part of your style. And if you haven’t already go and look at Zavros’s work…