With the drudgery of sullen subway rides, repetitive routines, or long and difficult days at work or school, it can be easy to become immersed in the daily grind, losing sight of the search to remain creatively inspired. Because of this, it’s important to remind yourself that inspiration is everywhere, even when you’re stuck in the murky depths of the mundane.
Be on the lookout for creative inspiration in unexpected places; for example, some people only have to look as far as the shoes on their feet. From May 3rd to July 6th, the work in our Boston Children’s Museum Gallery is inspired by sneakers. The show was curated by Olivia Ives-Flores and the Sneaker Museum. Visitors are invited to come explore the designs, textures, fabrics, eye-catching colors, and conceptual re-imaginings revolving around the art of the sneaker. Each pair of shoes in the exhibit can be traced back to one man, Rick Koscow’s passion for sneakers and the different ways they can be perceived, with his personal, authentic collection spanning back to 1980. The Art Studio is following suit for the month of May, challenging visitors to create something out of a buffet of materials that could be found in a sneaker. What can you make out of scraps of leather, burlap, shoelaces, vinyl, rubber, or plastic? Try it out.
Are you inspired by your sneakers? What are you inspired by? If you’ve found yourself in a creative rut, don’t worry – it happens to most people. Remember, inspiration is everywhere, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find it. Try out these tips.
o Challenge yourself. See what you can make with a supposedly random assortment of materials, like we’re doing in the Art Studio. Check your recycling bin, cut scraps of fabric from an old t-shirt, use up that yarn from the time you tried to teach yourself to knit; most materials can be repurposed, and you might be impressed with the results.
o Reclaim an old hobby. Have you ever played an instrument? Or maybe, on second thought, take those knitting needles out of their hiding places. Give something that fell by the wayside another chance.
o Take a second glance. What’s something you do or see every day that you never really take extra time to consider? Assess the design work on subway advertisements, and then learn about the fundamentals of graphic design. Look at the photographs in a magazine and learn how to work your own camera.
o Take a mental vacation. Look again at those beach photographs in that summer travel magazine. Imagine the smell of salt in the air, or the sunscreen you just slathered on your skin, or the rustle of the breeze on palm leaves. Ignore the hustle and bustle and take a moment to meditate on a truly peaceful situation. With your mind refreshed, you might find it a bit easier to begin a creative endeavor.
o Visit a thrift shop. With wall-to-wall artifacts of bygone times and memories of other people’s homes, thrift shops are eccentricity on a budget. Imagine an elaborate back-story to something like a dress or ceramic figurine, or find something interesting and start a collection of items that can be used in or simply used as inspiration for future works of art.
From a more personal standpoint, I’ve found that it’s easy to find inspiration when you work with children. They’re inherently creative with a refreshing grasp on logic and truth, and spin tales that no adult could possibly replicate. If you’ve got a little one at home, you can enlist your child’s help in the hunt for creative inspiration. Kids can be involved with all of the tips listed above, and more beyond that. Make and explore alongside your child. For instance, try making a collaborative drawing or painting. In the Art Studio, there is always a heavy emphasis on collaborative projects. They’re the tried and true method of exercising your creativity while fostering the ability to work effectively with others, learning to value another person’s work, and taking advantage of the opportunity to bounce your ideas off the sounding board of a second creative mind. When you’re creating together, you’re giving the child in your life the opportunity to have a positive creative role model. This is invaluable for young, artistically-inclined minds. For kids, the act of seeing their grown-ups create and make is inspiring in itself.
Stay vigilant, and don’t give in to the drab feeling of a mundane day. Remember to further cultivate your ability to think outside the box. Inspiration is everywhere. Happy hunting!