Inspiration – what, where, how & why? by Soosie Jobson

Inspiration is an elusive muse.  When is strikes it is powerful and driving.  When it falters it is depressing and nagging.  So what is “Inspiration”?  It is the driving force behind creativity.  It is the unstated, undefined thing that springs into our heads.  Suddenly you know what it is that you want – no- need to create.

So where do I get my inspiration from?  I am a very visual person so it is no surprise that what I see inspires me.  My last three major projects have been inspired images – my Honours degree in History was driven by a watercolour painting by Thomas Rowlandson “Vauxhall Gardens” 1784, my Zooxanthallae coral reef installation by Glen Cowans photography and my Felted Cactus Garden by Nancy Ballesteros’s holiday images from the USA.  This is not to say that visual things inspire everyone. Sound is a great inspiration for many – that favourite song, guitar riff, bird song or like my car crazed husband the roar of a V8 engine!   Perhaps for you it is smell – baking bread, star jasmine or wet grass.  But it is one of our senses that triggers it because our senses also trigger our memory and emotions.

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How does it work?  Creativity and emotions  are strongly linked – it was once a given that artists had to “suffer for their art”, I don’t think this is true for all but it does show that those who did suffer used that as their inspiration or driving emotion for their art.  I know when I am having a creativity drought it is directly linked to my state of mind – I also know that when my creativity is about to erupt I am usually restless – ready to produce.

Why do we need inspiration?  Life needs inspiration otherwise we will only produce or indeed live the mundane.  What inspires you?