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Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s focus is Art that Messes with Your Head Optical Illusion–-art that plays with space, light, and the role that our minds play in what our eyes see.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Do any these artists speak to you? Have you ever thought of exploring ideas like this with your own art?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!


“Impossible Photos of Erik Johansson”

All these images made me smile because in each photograph Johansson combines mundane gadgets of every day life like zippers and vacuums with large familiar natural elements or man-made structures (like miles of paved roadways) in surprising, and humorous ways. Click on the image to see more work.

Erik Johansson - cut-fold


Smart, Skilled and Playful: 3-D Sidewalk Artist Edgar Mueller + Many More

A wonderful variety of sidewalk artists creating fabulous illusions of depth. Click on the image to see the rest–they are all so fun.

edgar-mueller-street-art-5


In Front, Around, and Behind: Optical Art by Felice Varini

These geometric shapes are actually painted onto the surfaces of the building’s’ vaulted ceiling but they look like they are hanging straight down in space within the archway. All Varini’s pieces play with space like this. Difficult to photograph because the illusion is so good, definitely click to see the other photos so you can get a sense of what’s really happening. Clever and fun, this artwork really makes you think about distance, the act of seeing, and the space you inhabit.

Felice Varini Street Art

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I’m loving this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List…it’s all about layers of meaning.

Five different artists use formal elements to explore the ideas of space, time, depth, permanence, clarity in five completely different ways.

They’re all worth taking at least a moment or two to check out–if these don’t get you thinking, I don’t know what will!

Tell me-which inspires you the most? Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!


“Carving and Chipping Away at Paint by Karin Waskiewicz”

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“Time is a Dimension: Layered Images of Landscapes Over a 2-4 Hour Timespan” Photos by Fong Qi Wei

1-Time-is-a-Dimension-by-Fong-Qi-Wei-600x750


“Layer Motives by Nobuhiro Nakanishi”

Nobuhiro_Nakanishi_layered-landscape-4


“Charles Clary’s Cut-Paper Perfection”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


“Riusuke Fukahori Paints Three-Dimensional Goldfish Embedded in Layers of Resin”

Riusuke Fukahori Three-Dimensional Goldfish

 

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Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List…young artists “making it big” –but calling it inspiring this week is not quite accurate.

I’m actually torn about this week’s list–it’s 5 short articles or videos about very young artists who have gotten the attention of the insider art world, the media, or both.

I love their creativity, but I’m of two minds–some of it feels pretty gimmicky–especially by the galleries.

And sometimes I’m just unconvinced–is that 3 year old photographer really making choices with his camera? Did he take those pictures? What does it say about photography?

On the other hand, the little four year old from Australia looks as immersed in her work as any other artist I know–and Wang Yani is probably a prodigy.

I think these videos actually say a lot about the contradictory role of art in our society and the rush to buy work by these artists seems driven by reasons other than loving the art.

So–I started to post it last week  and then I couldn’t do it because normally my goal is to simply try to inspire you, and I felt a whole range of uncomfortable feelings watching these videos.

But they’ve been lingering in my mind and frankly, I want your opinion! So I’ve posted them.

Please watch a couple of these videos and tell me what you think!

Is it inspiring? Is it aggravating? Is it a mixture? Is it something else entirely?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!


“Lagos’s three year old photographer”

Onafujiri Fuji Remet 4 year old photographer


“4-Year-Old Girl Takes NYC Art World By Storm”

Aelita Andre Child Art Prodigy


Wang Yani: “Yani’s Monkeys

Wang Yani Monkeys Child Prodigy Painter


“The Amazing True Story of Akiane Kramarik”

The Amazing True Story of Akiane Kramarik


“Nine-Year-Old Artist Kieron Williamson Sells $386,000 Of Artwork In Minutes”

Nine-Year-Old Artist Kieron Williamson

 

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Funny boy dancing with a hat and glassesLord, I’m on a deadline.

I’m a week into a 2 week deadline for a couple of very large custom pieces for a boutique hotel. I’ve got to share at least one of these images with my art consultant in the next 48 hours so I can make changes if necessary and start the second piece in order to show the client something promising at the end of next week.

Right now, I really don’t think I’ve got the right hook yet. I keep looking at the descriptions of what the client (thinks) they want, images they’ve collected to help me understand what they (think) they want and then back to what I “do” as an artist and the images I’ve created so far.

I’ve got some work to do. Sigh.

In this situation, it’s very easy to panic. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious. But I’m trying to remember what I know deep down about my particular creative process and my success with tight deadlines in order to both keep the faith and simply keep going.

False Starts

For instance, whenever I start a new project, I always have what I call a “false start day.” This is the first day that I commit to spending a big chunk of time on a new project.

Each time I make that plan, that day is, inevitably, a mix of “almosts” and “kind ofs” combined with missing supplies, distracting phone calls and other irritating interruptions. Nothing gets done on the surface and usually about halfway through I realize, “Oh yeah, this is my false start day.”

I’ve also learned that this “false start” day seems to be required before I get down to brass tacks. So rather than beat myself up about it, I understand that for some reason, I need the “false start day” in order to have my productivity.

Even though it’s a very consistent experience, I still don’t usually account for it and I actually truly believe that I’m going to get lots and lots done that first day.  But once I’m halfway through and realize what’s happening, I accept my fate. At least I know it will be better tomorrow.

End of the Day Blues

Another part of my creative rhythm that I have to keep my eye on is the fact that I while I may like something I’m working on during the day as I create it, I usually decide by the end of the day that it’s not working–that I”ve somehow taken myself in the wrong direction or I just plain hate it.

In the past, I would have done something rash at this point. But now I’ve learned to wait–to see if I still hate it tomorrow. Because even if I decide it still needs work the next day, it’s usually not quite the overhaul I imagined was required.

And when I’m working for myself, as is the case now, I also look at the project one more time before I go to bed to give my sleeping mind a chance to figure out what I should do. No touching, just looking–this doesn’t have to take long either–in fact, it’s probably better that it doesn’t.

Gestation

The other thing I know about my particular creative process is that I spend longer in the “gestation” stage than most folks. That is, I stay in the messy middle for a long time where things neither look good or like they’re going to get finished on time.

For instance, when I worked in a design office, I was usually the last in with my finished products. I used to share an assistant with 2 other designers and she’d always get quite worried for me as each deadline loomed and they appeared to be accomplishing much more and what on earth was I doing?!

But by the end, I’d always get my projects in on time and I’d usually also have the most work done. I learned this in college when I was writing a paper–Id’ be the last one to start my paper but the first one to finish. I knew that if I lingered longer in the idea-wrestling phase, I’d be able to put my thoughts down much more quickly–basically not forcing myself to start before I was ready.

This habit, though, is the most stressful under a deadline. While I know it works for me, the desire to provide concrete evidence of great progress is very strong (that’s why we start before we’re ready). It’s hard-hard-hard to look “behind” or that you’re just not “getting it”. And when you have a long “gestation” period, it really means living with a project while it looks “bad” which is VERY uncomfortable.

But it’s usually worse if I get too focused on producing “evidence” too quickly. I just keep reminding myself that I’ve been here before–so really at this point, the most important thing is to keep the doubting voices in my head in check.

Respect

We each have our own particular creative rhythm. And the more you know AND RESPECT your own rhythm, the easier it is to get out of your own way and let it work.

For me, I’ve been pretty aware of my own creative process for a long time, but it’s taken me longer to truly respect it as well. And shushing those doubting and negative voices is an important part of offering that respect.

And it’s definitely more complicated on a deadline because everything is exaggerated and you usually have to speed up your natural rhythm–which almost always feels unholy, un-natural and unjust. But again, it’s worked before, it can work again.

(Of course, I never quite fully believe that as it’s happening–and I don’t want to jinx myself mid-project–but that is, in truth, what has always happened up to now.)

What About You?

Have you thought about what your own creative rhythms are? Do you get out of your own way and let them work?

If you haven’t, consider asking yourself some questions like:

  • What is your best time of day to create?
  • How long do you like to work at a time?
  • Do you need music to work? Silence? Privacy? Company?
  • How do you help yourself through the messy parts? Do you take a walk when you’re stuck? Eat twizzlers?

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. (Remember, we’re all struggling with the same things, so when you share your own struggles, you’re helping someone else realize they aren’t alone!)

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Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

Now I love myself a beautiful bowl, and this week’s artists may all work in clay, but it would be hard to call them potters–even the one who is still making teacups.

Take a look and you’ll understand what I mean!

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Do this artwork speak to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!


“Ceramic Plate Christmas Tree in Hasselt, Belgium by Mooz”

 Ceramic Plate Christmas Tree Mooz


 Conceptual Porcelain Sculptor Kate MacDowell

Kate MacDowell Ceramic Sculptor


“Bottom Feeders, Ceramic Cups and Pitchers Covered in Barnacles, Tentacles, and Other Sea Life” by Mary O’Malley

Mary O'Malley Ceramic Bottom Feeders

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Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s focus is art that explores travel–-from sepia toned vintage images embedded in old suitcases to carefully consructed bronze sculptures to a giant travel celebration machine in the center of Paris.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Do this artwork speak to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!


“Old Suitcases are Canvases for Memories of a Past Life”

These sepia-toned images on the suitcases feel so homey and deeply personal, they really evoke a feeling of stories and domestic histories. I love them.

 

Yuval Yairi Memory Suitcases


 “Bronze Sculpture: Traveling With Bruno Catalano”

These bronze half empty figures carrying their luggage seem to speak about the past and the future at the same time. The solidity of the bronze and the fragility of the open spaces somehow speak to the human condition in a way that’s both traditional and very fresh.

 

Bruno Catalano Travellers


 “Escape Machines” by DDB Paris

Is it art?Is it really about travel? I’m not sure, but it’s certainly joyful, unexpected, and over the top! Watch the video and see.

Here’s this week’s Art Inspiration Hit List–a few links to wonderful artwork from around the interweb to get you thinking, dreaming, and creating.

This week’s focus is art that explores the idea of destruction–-3 different artists using elimination, removal, or destruction to make an aesthetic and cultural statement.

I hope they inspire you to carry your own ideas forward into your own unique new territory.

Do these artists speak to you?

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!


 ”High Speed Photography of Light Bulbs Exploding by Jon Smith”

Beauty in the act of the explosion.

High-Speed Photography of Light Bulbs Exploding by Jon Smith


Michael Landy: Break Down

I was skeptical when I first watched this video because I think artists can do a lot of posturing in performance, time-based or experiential art that I generally find annoying, but I think what he’s done is provocative and compelling, weirdly uncomfortable and definitely interesting. It was the ultimate UN-objectification as he destroyed all his possessions in a matter of fact, systematic way that also really captivated the public.
Watch it and tell me what you think! 

Michael Landy Break Down


Janine Antoni: “Lick and Lather”

The artist makes classical busts of herself in chocolate and soap and then she licks her way to the finished product with one and takes a bath with the other as she talks about ideas of disintegration and dissolution. I know, I know, but read the interview–compelling.

Janine Antoni Lick and lather