Using Inspiration

Pro Tip

This is a list of people I’ve been inspired by, and photos of what I’ve created with that inspiration. Skip down to the pictures if you’re not the read-a-blog-post type.

Prologue

This year one of my biggest goals is to create more.

I’d love to be able to say my goal is to create more than I consume, but let’s not get carried away here; let’s keep it attainable.

All the pros say if you are serious about attaining them, you have to keep your goals measurable and to write them down so you can keep yourself accountable. You can also tell lots of people about them (in person or digitally) so if so that you are more motivated to achieve your goals, or at least avoid failing as epically.

Logistically, I just need to share more blog posts than I did last year, (which was 3) so let’s get into it.

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Creativity

I want to spend more time doing what makes me happy, and less time doing what drains me, which means I need to make more stuff, not because I’m getting paid to do it, not because I need to share it with the world, but because I enjoy it.

One of the funny and frustrating things about identifying creativity, it that it’s much easier spotting in others than finding it within oneself, I’ve found.

every-new-project

The most recent chapter in my relationship with creativity has been one of building confidence, forging on past that overwhelming feeling at the beginning of every new project and rediscovering the joy of simply making things.

Following are a few creators that I’ve been inspired by, and what I did with that inspiration.

If you don’t know my story very well, my friend David can give you a good idea of my journey with an interview he did with me me last January. (Not a lot has changed since then, I’m still making stuff, or making excuses).

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Sean Woolsey Atelier

Woolsey is a self-taught product designer in Costa Mesa, California, who is constantly reimagining furniture, side tables, even ping-pong tables. I’d describe his style as mid-century modern meets chic-surfer-cabin style. but don’t take my word for it, check out more on his website.

woolsey-insta

instagram.com/thewoolsey/

Inspired by Woolsey’s aesthetic, I customized a magnetic knife rack for my own kitchen. You can follow along with step-by-step instructions and see more pictures published on IKEAhackers.net if you’re a nerd like me and get excited about DIY how-to’s.

magnetic-knife-rack-hero-img

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Austin Kleon

Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist was given to me by a gracious peer in college. It is full of simple tidbits that provide encouragement, calm, and confidence for anyone who considers what they do “creative.” I’ve since passed along the book, as everyone should do with good books, and I follow Kleon on Instagram, a great way to get that daily dose of inspiration.

One of my favorite practices he calls “Newspaper Blackouts,” a simple and effective way to re-appropriate something so ordinary into a piece of poetry. I highly recommend everyone try this out, regardless of your confidence in the realm of “being creative”, it’s so easy, and so satisfying:

kleon-insta

instagram.com/austinkleon/

Here’s my go at making poetry with a sharpie. (Note: best practiced in a well-ventilated environment):

furiously-digging-your-salvation-copy

more-snow-fell-copy

a-restless-writhing-of-purpose-copy

Caption:

“a restless writhing of purpose. It was his mission to draw things that work the spirit, Sweat dripping, covered in soot, you got to work that spirit, his father told him. There was no model for the type of man he wanted to become. He scrutinized men frivolous and worthless, no inspiration. If you weren’t a little dirty at the end of the day you weren’t a man.”

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Seamus Heaney

When I studied abroad in Ireland a few years back, I did a bit of reading from local writers, and was most captivated by the works of Seamus Heaney, one of the country’s most beloved and respected poets, and Nobel-prize winner, who passed away earlier that year. Here’s one of my favorites,”Digging”

Inspired by his style, I wrote the following poems about my own experiences in rain-soaked Cork, and the surrounding treks in the countryside. Images my own, taken during my 2013 Ireland trip.

ireland-bog-hiking
Hike
Boots scrunch on heavy grass
Squelch and suck in bog.
Cautious feet find grip on granite, brush, in fog.

river-lee
River Lee
The Snake gorged itself swollen
Slurping dreams and mud
Brown froth around its lips
Laps and chews its cud.
kerry-sensuous
Kingdom of Kerry
Her curves and hills could be
Sensuous. But
Around the bend, her jagged bones expose
Torn open, reveal flesh and craggy rocks
Both lovely and violent.

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Next steps

I’ve been working on doing more illustration and simple sketches, so I’ll be sharing those next (subtle accountability cue: see what I did there?).

What are you inspired by?

And what are you going to create with that inspiration?

You got this. Now go, make something.