Ask an Artist: Inspiration and Motivation.

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is about my inspiration or where I find motivation. Those are questions that I could write a whole book about, but I’ll try to be a bit shorter in my answers  here:)

 Nerdy Bird’s Art Nest Asks
“What motivates you when you create a new work of art?”

There are several things that go in to motivating me to create a new piece of art. To be totally honest, since my career is my source of income, part of my motivation comes from making a living. That isn’t to say that money is my only motivation, nor is it my biggest motivation, but it is a very real source of motivation. There is a myth, or a belief,  that money bastardizes art, or makes it impure. I guess it would be if your ambitions in art were to purely make art for the sake of making art, and that is fine. But a many artists out there have the ambition to make their living with their art, or at least to be able to pay a few bills with it. If you are one of these income ambitious artists then money does have to fit into your motivation somewhere. As with anything you must have  balance.  As important as income is to ones motivation, you cannot let the ambition to make money be the overpowering inspiration for your art. Otherwise you run the risk of creating souless art that speaks to no one. I’ve skirted this line before and it’s not a fun place to be. You start to feel more like a machine than any kind of creative artist. Personally, I felt emptier and emptier the closer I got to being all about the money.   I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, and in turn fans wern’t really enjoying my art either. I wasn’t giving the fans anything to get excited about , so why should they be excited?  Luckily, that phase didn’t last too long and I found new ways to create and got back in touch with my creative side. But I have never not been motivated by making a living in some way. Despite what people might tell you, an artist can also be a good business person.

So, what are my other motivations then? Quite honestly… my BIGGEST motivation is loving to paint, draw, and create. I love it, I always have. It makes me happy and gets me in a great zen mode. I like being happy, and making art is a never ending supply of happiness for me. Another motivation is meditation. As I mentioned, art puts me in a total Zen mode where I meditate on everything from current events to delving into my own subconscience. I have worked out so many issues within myself just by painting and meditating at the same time. Making art helps my mind focus, and is actually the only time I can successfully do and think about multiple things at the same time.  The simple opportunity to think clearly and the ability to organize my thoughts is a huge motivation that comes from making art. I get a great deal of motivation from exploring my childhood through my art. I really think this is why I have gravitated towards creating art for Star Wars, comics, and all the things I loved when I was a kid. It brings me memories from my childhood that are both pleasant and at times revealing. As I’m sure many of you can relate, my childhood was very confusing and a bit traumatic. My toys, movies, cartoons, and sports were my support group that got me through those times. The interesting thing is I’m ALL about moving forward and not living in the past, but I also feel that you can’t move forward 100% if you have things from your past that you don’t resolve. Somehow, and this might sound weird, but by creating art based on my childhood distractions I’m somehow opening doors to my past. It allows me to confront things that I had buried very deep in my mind. Often, by the time I have finished a painting I have resolved and let go of those little pockets of anger and sadness that had been hiding in my subconscience.  It’s hard sometimes, but in my experience, I’ve found that I get closer to being able to move forward 100% the more I resolve things form my past. The therapy I get from making art is a great motivation for me.
Finally, I am motivated by my fans and audience. I get the biggest rush when I see or hear that my art has made someone smile. I mean, it’s an unbelievable feeling to know that my art can evoke any kind of emotion from anyone. It’s not an ego thing or a need for approval. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting compliments as much as the next artists, but that isn’t what motivates me. In fact, my favorite thing to do is to watch people looking at my art, but when they don’t know it’s me they are standing next to, or when they cannot see me. I love this because the reactions they have to the art is so honest. They are not motivated to say anything because I’m there. They are motivated to say something simply because the art moves them. That makes me feel great because I feel like I have given that person an experience. While that might seem very subtle or pointless, I’ve seen millions of pieces of art (including some of mine) that don’t move people at all . To have even one piece of art speak to someone  is just amazing for any artist. It makes me feel connected to life and the collective soul of people. I’ve always loved to make people happy through my art:)

Thanks you to everyone who is following my blog, I’d love to hear your comments!

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