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Label: inspiration

Wednesday 23rd December 2015The Year in Review

What a year! 2015 has had some incredible ups and downs, and hopefully has been kind to all of you loyal readers, both in the creative sphere and in the rest of your life - although they're really all the same thing! We thought we'd take this opportunity to look back at some of our favourite posts from the previous year, in case you missed them.

It was a banner year for inspirational posts from us here at Gallereo, as we covered a number of fantastic idea spinners that hopefully helped to keep you out of the creative doldrums. Whether it was a new year's blessing, a Spring cleaning extravaganza, or creating for your health, perhaps Wayne Dyer said it best: "Everything that's created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness." A bit of a pause at the end of the year to look back and reflect can make all the difference in the world, allowing you to put the past behind you and look forward to all the creativity those experiences will help generate.

We also discovered a number of fantastic artists thought our Artist Spotlight that might help inspire you to new heights. From the fantastically ambitious and surreal Alejandro Jodorowsky to the ever controversial Richard Prince, and from scent artist Anicka Yi to the stunning Earth art landscape abstracts of astronaut Scott Kelly, you can see the entire selection by choosing the 'Artist Spotlight' tag in the column on the right. While they may not all be to everyone's taste, they come from a wide enough range of different styles, media and approaches that there's sure to be something that will tickle your fancy in there.

Please, take a moment to look back through all of what we've covered, and hopefully anything you missed the first time around will catch your attention this time. And now, we'll leave you with the words of Johan Lehrer: "Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we're rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world." May your 2016 be full of creative sparks and artistic passions!

Posted on December 23rd 2015 on 05:48am
Labels: 2015, inspiration

Friday 25th September 2015Autumn Inspiration

Autumn is a strange and magical time in the world. The transition seasons, Spring and Autumn, tend to bring about a feeling of excitement and wonder, as we watch the world change right in front of our very eyes. Spring certainly has wonder and the promise of growth and rebirth, but we can't deny the necessity of Autumn's sense of closing and ending.

Now before you let that sound depressing, stop and really think about it. At least here in the temperate latitudes, the natural world needs a bit of time to rest, recuperate and weather the storms of winter - and despite what it may seem in our technologically advanced wonderland, we're still a part of the natural world. Consider all the projects you've likely got sitting around your workspace (or your studio, if you're lucky enough to have one). You know the ones. For whatever reason, they've stalled, or you can't quite decide how to finish them. Autumn can teach the value of knowing when to end something, if you let it.

Any number of unfinished projects will build up in the background of your creative life, if you let them. Whether it's because they're frustrating, perplexing, or just not quite perfect enough yet, all that uncompleted creativity can really start to wear you down if you're not careful. We tend to have a limited about of available operating space in our creative brains, and if you don't take the time to clear out the cobwebs every once in a while, it can start to hold you back. Failing that, it might even begin to inhibit your ability to start creating new projects.

Try taking a lesson from the natural world, and take stock of your current creative practices. That old painting that you never quite knew how to finish, or the photo series that defies every attempt to categorize - whatever it is that you've got kicking around, yank it all out into the open and see what can be done with it. If you can finish the project, by all means finish it - but it's also important to know when to end things. Winter is a great time to stay in the studio for as long as possible, but in order for new ideas to start to gestate, it's usually a good idea to clear the way for the next project. Don't let the idea of 'Spring cleaning' decide when you chuck the old and ring in the new, and try Autumn cleaning instead. You never know what might come of it!

Posted on September 25th 2015 on 03:58pm

Friday 08th May 2015Create for Your Health

As every creative person knows, there is a deep sense of satisfaction and well-being that comes from the act of creation. Whether it's a reaction to the catharsis many people achieve from creating or the simple fact of having added to the beauty in the universe, it's impossible to deny that creating makes us feel better, brings light to dark days and helps us deal with our emotions and experiences. It turns out that there is a solid scientific base for this perception, as opposed to the purely anecdotal evidence that every artist has.

In the last couple of years, some important and pioneering research has been conducted by scientists around the world on the measurable neurological impact of art. Without going into the admittedly slightly tedious details of the various studies, we can still identify how to benefit from the results they identified. One study, which compared the neurological changes experienced by two groups of people – one group created art, and the other discussed it at length in a museum environment – found that participants who created various pieces of artwork over a 10 week period had significantly increased the density of their neural pathways in certain areas of the brain, while the group that merely discussed artwork experienced no changes. Specifically, the areas of the brain that benefited from the creation process were related to emotional awareness and 'psychological resilience', which is to say that it made them better able to cope with stress and made them feel much happier.

Naturally, every artist has experienced this at some point in their artistic career, but it's nice to have some solid scientific backing for your personal experiences, especially about issues as complicated as neurology. It doesn't matter whether or not your art is your entire life or just something you dabble in, it's nice to have a body of evidence that proves how beneficial it is. Not that we need it, of course!\

So the next time you find yourself feeling stressed out or a bit overwhelmed by life in general, it's probably a good idea to find some time to create. If you ever find yourself a bit of a loose end, take – or make – the time to do a little creating, and protect yourself against future stress while creating something that you can be proud of. If you're stuck for ideas, why not take a look through our inspiration and project idea posts to get inspired? Just explore the tags on the right.  

Posted on May 08th 2015 on 04:04pm

Wednesday 18th March 2015Spring Cleaning Inspiration

At long, long last, it's that time again! This winter has been an incredibly punishing one for most of North America, despite warmer than average temperatures in much of the rest of the world, but no matter how your winter went, it's always a relief to see the Sun finally starting to break through the Winter blahs and being a sense of renewal and rebirth to the world. Apologies if you love in the Southern hemisphere, which is of course just sliding into Autumn, but since most of you live in the Northern hemisphere, enjoy!

As we said, Spring is most commonly associated with growth and rebirth, as it has been for thousands of years, and as artists, we are more sensitive than most to the value of themes and symbols. They drive much of our work, even as they shape much of our thoughts, so it only seems natural that the world around us should provide some of those themes as well. Typically, this brings to mind Spring cleaning, when the home is given a once or twice over to get rid of unused items and make way for a new year of life. But when it comes to your artistic practice, many of us are loathe to dig through our work and clean up.

Those of you lucky enough to have a studio space to work in would do well to take the opportunity to clean things out - come on, you know there are some old supplies somewhere in there that you'll never be able to use again! There's something about the creative mind that often tends towards clutter (and several studies linking clutter with creativity, which seems to make perfect sense), but it can still be refreshing to clean out the old clutter, even if it's just to make room for this year's new clutter. Even if all you do is rearrange things and put some things away, changing your space in the smallest ways can still make a huge different in the way you interact with it.

Refreshing rebirth doesn't simply have to apply to your workspace, however. Spring can also be a great time to explore new artistic avenues and new styles, to finish up old projects so that there is room and time to start new ones. Let yourself embrace Spring, and all that it entails, and hopefully your artistic career will be reborn after a long Winter. Happy Spring, and happy creating, everyone!

Posted on March 18th 2015 on 02:04pm

Wednesday 07th January 2015A New Year for New Inspiration

Finding inspiration for your artwork can sometimes be the biggest challenge. That's why it's such a frequent topic here, and something that everyone - yes, literally everyone - in the artistic community struggles with at one time or another. Something that truly motivates you, that gives you the passion and power to create beauty in the world, is a glorious and wondrous thing - but it can also be elusive, and extremely frustrating when it stays just out of reach.

Every experience we have in the world is an opportunity for inspiration, even if it may not seem like it when you're in the depths of a dry spell. Remembering this fact, most particularly when it seems untrue, is the key element in turning things around and getting back your creative muse or mojo or groove or whatever. There is a certain mindset, a kind of lightness of being, for lack of a better term, that seems to take over when we look at things in the right way, and it's possible to induce that mindset in yourself (though it can take a little work).

Everything you do - everything - is potential fodder for artwork, if you look at it in the right way. One of the things that makes us excellent creative types is our ability to bring together disparate elements into that fusion of joy we call creativity, and in order to do that, we have to be willing to look at everything in the world in a new way. When you drink your coffee, look at the patterns of volatile oils on the surface and think about everything that went into bringing them there. On the way to work, zoom out and think about the massive number of interactions happening on the single city block around you. When you relax after a long day in the studio, feel your blood pumping through your veins like you did when you were a child. See your nose in the middle of your vision. Touch the barest fingertip to something. Anything. Just focus on the experience, and not on the end result.

Let this new year be the start of your inspirational mindset adventure. Try to look at the world in a new way, down to the smallest detail, and let the flood of new information set your neurons alight with new connections and new ideas - and most of all, with new beauty to share. 

Posted on January 07th 2015 on 05:00pm

Friday 10th October 2014What Started You As An Artist?

The end of the year is fast approaching, and times like this often inspire us to take a look back at the previous year, at everything we've accomplished and everything that we still have yet to do. Sometimes, it makes us look even farther back at how we arrived at the places we are now in our lives, and artists feel this perhaps even more keenly than others. The creative process is inherently reflective, and is effective largely because of our past experiences and how they shape us. Just as an exercise, as this year comes to a close, take some time to look back at your artistic career, no matter how long it's been, and take stock of where you are now compared to where you started.
To get yourself into the reflective mood, start by looking back over what you've done this year so far. How has your technique changed? What have you begun to learn or experiment with? What do you wish you'd done that you didn't have time or inspiration for? This is one of the times when it really pays to maintain a kind of archive, not just of your work (because of course you do that anyways) but also of all the various bits and pieces of inspiration you've found and experiments and process work you've doubtless created. They provide a chronology of your development, a kind of textual mirror of your artistic sensibilities.

Then start looking farther back, so that you really get a sense of where your artistic career came from. What made you decide to become an artist in the first place? For almost all of us, it was a conscious choice at some point in our lives, even if we don't remember the exact moment - but even better if you do remember. What potential forks in your artistic path did you pass by along the way? Are any of them worth going back and re-examining?

There is a great, wondrous and often inspiring sense of place that can be found in coming back full circle to where you began. Even if you're not happy with the place you're in now, seeing how far you've come (or haven't) can provide the drive you need to continue to grow and evolve as an artist. So take some time to look back this year at the past, and let it propel you forwards into the future - and if you haven't been saving your inspirations, experiments, and process pieces, start to do it now!

Posted on October 10th 2014 on 08:12pm

Wednesday 24th September 2014Autumn Inspiration

It's that time of year again - at least, for those of us in the northern hemisphere. You lucky readers in the southern hemisphere are gearing up for a beautiful sunny spring, but in the northern latitudes it's time to see the beautiful yet somewhat melancholic effects that Autumn brings to the world around us. It's both a time for creation and destruction, though perhaps not in that order. The past must be cleared away in order to make way for the new beginnings that Winter nurtures, eventually expressed in the joyous outpouring of next year's Spring.

This is an inescapable part of living close to the polar extremes, and something that should be embraced in all of our lives, including our artistic lives. While you don't have to let the seasons define you or your work, they can often be a welcome reason to move on, to try something new, or to inspire you to untold heights and previously unexplored artistic pleasures.

As if that wasn't enough, there is a remarkable sense of harmony that can be accessed by aligning your own personal artistic cycles to that of the natural world. It speaks to some deep, inner core of our mammalian brains, those that evolved with the natural cycles of the world before we could consciously understand them - or anything at all. At least in this writer's experience, it's a remarkably rewarding feeling, one that's worth considering as a potential lever in your creative expression.

Whether you do or don't hold with any of that kind of experience, it's still as good a point as any to hinge your creativity on. As Autumn turns, take it as a challenge to experiment with Autumn-themed things - concepts such as change, the cyclical nature of the world, dying for rebirth, and so on. If that doesn't appeal to you, you might at least want to consider the use of an Autumn-toned palette - all the warm colours, from palest yellow to deepest crimson and everything in between.

No matter how you choose to experience it, the coming of Autumn, or any seasonal change, can be a powerful creative catalyst when it comes to your work, if you're willing to let yourself see it that way. All it takes is a little imagination - and you've got that all over!

Posted on September 24th 2014 on 12:01am

Friday 27th June 2014Going Beyond Your Medium

The search for fresh inspiration never ends. It's an inevitable and undeniably enjoyable part of living your life as an artist that the entire world can speak to you and inspire you to create. But as we all know, that doesn't make it true 100% of the time. We all have our little slow-downs, so we've explored various ways to fight the creative doldrums over the past few months, and many of these tactics can lift you back up out of a slump. What we're going to look at today, though, is more about how you think about yourself as an artist.

For many of us, we have specialized or gravitated towards a specific discipline, be it photography, sculpture, music, performance art, painting or whatever. But many - perhaps I should even say most - of us have become inadvertently locked into our chosen discipline, and that can sometimes make it extremely difficult to break free from creative slumps. We establish modes and patterns of thinking within our respective disciplines, and sometimes we can't see our own ways out as a result. But what happens when you put down the paintbrush and pick up a camera? Ditch the dance shoes for a collage construction? Wonderful and exciting things, if you go into it with the right attitude.

The key is to stop thinking of yourself as a painter, or a photographer, or whatever your discipline may be. Even if you'd only like to switch out your watercolours for acrylics or oils, even small changes in your habits can have huge impacts on the way you interact with your own work. Don't expect to produce masterpieces right away in a brand-new medium (although don't be too surprised if you do - art is full of happy accidents!), but try to understand the creative process from other perspectives and with other approaches.

Similar to the way that learning a new language or teaching yourself a musical instrument can keep your brain sharp and on its toes, the act of switching media can really break you out of an artistic slump and get your creative neurons firing at full capacity again. Who knows, you might even discover a passion for a style that you'd otherwise never have experimented with! Try to pick something that's always interested you but you've never experimented with before - this is your excuse (or kick in the behind!) to get out there creatively and let your passion through!

Posted on June 27th 2014 on 06:35pm

Friday 20th June 2014Automatic Art Projects

Summer can be a great time for creative inspiration. Breaking out of your winter studio habits can have a huge impact on your mind and body, and we all know how useful change can be for getting us into new situations and experiences that spark new creative drives. We've even written a special post about summer inspiration recently! But sometimes, summer alone isn't enough to get the creative juices flowing. Creative blocks can happen to the best of us at almost any time, which is no fun, but a definite reality of living life as a creative individual.

Some of us remember the heady days of art school, when there was a constant source of projects and parameters to work in (and some of you will be thinking with relief that you're not going back to class until the autumn!). There is a kind of creative relief in having at least some of the parameters of a project provided for you. It seems almost paradoxical, but developing creative ways to operate within a framework can sometimes make it easier to generate ideas that simply staring at a blank canvas (which we've all done at one point or another).

Enter the wonderful world of Twitter bots. A Twitter bot is a piece of software that automatically generates tweets (posts on Twitter) from a set of input words, and as you might expect, it's not always 100% grammatically correct, but it almost never fails to be interesting. That's the premise behind @artassignbot, the digital brainchild of Jeff Thompson, an artist and programmer who grew tired of constantly recycled themes being used in art school assignments. So he gathered up a massive collection of assignments, and used software to recombine them in bizarre and sometimes appealing ways, and stuck a due date on the end. These due dates range in time from under a minute for quick flash projects to several days or more, giving you some time to think about what you're doing.

A new assignment is tweeted every hour, and there have been over 30,000 so far, so you're sure to find something that will spark a creative urge in you, even if it's just so you can say that you've collaborated with a piece of online software.

The best part of all, of course, is that you don't have to put up with the interminable critiques from classmates!

Posted on June 20th 2014 on 04:01pm

Wednesday 11th June 2014Summer Art Inspiration

If there's one thing I've learned over the course of my artistic career, it's that art doesn't happen in a vacuum. That's not to say that art can't happen in space - Commander Hadfield's rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity on the International Space Station leaps to mind - but rather that the kind of ideas and inspiration that drive your creativity and artistic thinking don't happen in a vacuum. In order to function at your full creative potential, you need a great deal of new input, whether it's new ideas that you've gotten from casual conversations with friends or a new exhibit that inspired you to test out some new techniques or anything in between. Exposure to the world is what makes us want to create.

The winter months are perfect for studio time (although they can be just as creatively inspiring in and of themselves, with the right mindset), as the cold weather tends to keep us all indoors. Summer, however, tends to have the opposite effect in the artistically inclined, and both beautiful bright sunshine and powerful dark thunderstorms can be powerful inspirations. The most important thing about summer, though, is that it gets us back out into the world, coming into contact with life and society in a way that tends not to happen as much in the winter. When the entire world seems wrapped in scarves and gloves, freezing and covered in slush, it seems to evoke a sense of internalization and introspection. Summer, of course, is a time for showing skin to the sky and the suddenly the world is open and extroverted and curious again.

If you find yourself with a creative block sometime in the next few months (sorry to any readers who are in the southern hemisphere, about to enter the dead of winter), take the time to go outside and do something you wouldn't normally do. Summer basically begs you to enjoy it, so get out of the studio and go expand your horizons in the world. You might be amazed at the kind of creative boosts a simple stroll can have, whether for simply relaxing you and allowing you to refocus on the project at hand or because you see or do something new and inspiring to you.

Go out there - live life, and the art will follow. Sorry digital artists, this means you too! Pry yourself away from the screen and get some sunshine!

Posted on June 11th 2014 on 03:05pm
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