Innovating Through Artistry

Posts Tagged ‘Artistic Vision’

Inspirado, My Sweet Muse

In Author: Jim Hart on October 24, 2009 at 3:17 am

A number of years ago, while at Yale, I had the good fortune to meet renowned playwright, Arthur Miller (author of The Crucible, Death of a Salesman and All My Sons). This was, for me, a truly magical encounter, as he is one of my favorite writers. I asked him if he, in his creative process, met inspiration at the door OR if he consciously sought it out. He responded that it is different with every occasion, but that sometimes one must look for it.

inspired eyeVision Seeking. What a romantic coupling of words. For me, it brings to my mind the mythic vision quest, where a hero strikes out with the express intent to have adventure, to experience new stimuli and to find inspiration.

Not all of us are blessed with a regular muse. Sometimes, we must make a conscious, concerted effort to hunt down the often elusive Inspirado.

For many artists, inspiration is a seductive, but fleeting lover. We bask in this lover’s affection and reap the reward of their presence. But, this lover is rarely around long enough and leaves you longing for another encounter.

Inspiration can come in many forms and ways. Sometimes, I feel that I am holding a very fine silk thread and am gently following it, hand over hand, hoping it does not break. At other times, I feel that I have been hit by lightning and vision unrolls before my like a long Persian rug.

Waiting for inspiration to arrive is a waste of time and creative energy. Why? Because waiting for inspiration is another form of giving away one’s power and most entrepreneurs and independent artists crave autonomy. It is marvelous to have inspiration. But, when it is not present, we must find other ways of moving forward.

Here are some tools I have found useful in luring Inspirado. I hope some of these may help you.

  1. Give yourself time. Dedicate time to actively look. Books, for me, often inspire. My wife and I have a large collection of books that focus on various painters´ works. Also, my wife, having been a professional dancer, has many books on choreographers, companies and dancers. I pour through these pages, seeking stimulation. Inevitably, it comes.

  2. Gardening. In myth, it is a symbol of the soul. For me, gardening is a constantly evolving, living canvas. Structuring a garden is always a temporary act. Nature takes it back so fast. Being in nature and engaging in creation, stimulates me greatly.

  3. Brainstorm. I love this word. A storm of the mind. Chat with a good brainstorming friend (someone with intelligence and their ego under some control). One idea can give birth to another (and often does). In this process, listen a lot, see the ideas in your mind and follow whatever impulse arises (without first judging it). You think it? Go with it. It does not matter whether you think it is a worthy impulse or not. Throw it out, as it may stimulate another person you are working with and may be a better idea than you initially thought. No self-censorship.

  4. Change your routine. We are all creatures of habit. Many of us have a structure to our lives that causes us to not see things around us. We take the typical for granted. Such eyesight can lead to a lack of “seeing”. Meditation can help. Bump up against stimuli you might not otherwise encounter. Walk around the block and go a way you do not normally go. Be open to conversations with others you do not typically communicate with. Go to the magazine rack and pick up a magazine that has nothing to do with your typical interests. Look for text that pops off of pages for you.

  5. Engage in dialog about what interests you with people of like interest. Such talk can serve to stimulate, inspire collaborations and cultivate energy.

  6. Be rested. An exhausted mind and body, often, do not yield inspiring results.

  7. Begin to make something. Create. Develop a sense of momentum. Doing so will help you to begin moving forward. Think of your own energy like that of rolling a stone down a hill. While the stone is fixed in space, it can be difficult to move it. But once it begins to roll, it develops more and more speed as it rolls down the hill.

  8. Find a sense of balance within your life. I have found that if I am not attending to all of my basic needs as a person, that inspiration is less likely to find me. Lack of attention to my needs, for me, creates a feeling of gap or lacking. I will then feel unsettled and unhealthy habits might begin. Such a feeling can slow my momentum and lead towards inertia. Sometimes, we are not able to fully attend to all of our needs. In such a case, try to find a “sense of balance”. Schedule time to commit some small energy towards the filling of your need gaps. In doing so, a greater sense of “wholeness” can arise and, consequently, happiness and better use of ones´ energy and mind.

  9. Go down a rabbit hole. My favorite rabbit hole is YouTube. I like to watch videos of something that fascinates me and then keep following the links.

  10. Play. Engaging in a playful state of mind will, invariably, get our imaginations firing. When I say, “play”, I truly mean just that. Engage in a ridiculous scenario or activity and play with as you did when you were a child. Don’t judge. Engage. Commit to your sense of play with wholly, with abandon and joy.

  11. Play with your imagination. Ask, “What if”? What if you had a million dollars? What if you were elected President. What would your first day of office look like? The more you use your imagination, the stronger it, as a muscle, becomes. The more you use it, the more you are able to use it. The imagination is one of the partners of the dance.
  12. Cultivate your emotional intelligence. Inspiration comes from the imagination (and emotions). When one is inspired, they are emotionally engaged. Emotional intelligence is one of the artists´ keystone tools. If you do not already have a good degree of sensitivity to your emotions, what you are regularly feeling, start. They are often not as scary as we believed they might be. Ride the wave of what you feel. Pay some attention to it. Name it. “I am feeling…excited or giddy”, for example. Name it to understand it. If you feel you are already too engaged with your emotions, try to channel them into activities or creations. Make something and let your emotion be the gasoline in the tank. Let your expression come out of that.

  13. Meditate. Willfully still your mind. Letting the constant clutter of our thoughts subside for a while, gives space to our imaginations. Present consciousness can enable us to see our world through a clearer lens.

Then…follow the silk thread, impulse after impulse. Keep following. Keep doing.

To learn more about author Jim Hart or The Hart Technique, see   http://www.harttechnique.com

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What kind of artistic life in the future will you live?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness on September 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Lisa 2009What kind of artistic life in the future will you live? What does the rest of this year, 2010 and beyond hold for you? Can you describe it to me?

Do you see yourself becoming more involved in the creation of your artistry, do you see greater connectivity to others, what about the twisty- misty road called your creative journey finally occupying center stage?

Does your future artistic life need more time, more money, more training, more love, less self-loathing, more what… to achieve what it most needs?

I think every artist I have ever met has said, in one way or another that for them, their artistic life is about making a difference. But exactly how big of a difference were you thinking you will make and for whom? Will that difference be for you, for your immediate family, for your friends, your community, for the world?

What arts entrepreneurship training offers- that NOTHING ELSE IN LIFE that I have discovered yet does- is a way to achieve, shape, re-shape, define, re-define, refine and live the artistic life you have always wanted to live– exactly as you see it from moment to moment, day to day, week to week and year after year.

Albeit, just like most things in life, enjoying the journey to your destination is the most important part of the ride, but entrepreneurial training offers you a blank map to start and re-start until you create the perfect road to be able to. A road that feels and looks exactly right for you to take- one that you will find infectiously helps you learn how to truly enjoy looking out your window as you tavel along your way.

The trick is.. how many roads are you willing to try and create? If you keep designing, unknowingly, roads that turn out to be dead ends how much gas, time and energy are you willing to sacrifice, with an open-mind, before you simply become another believer that an artists life is a dream, a hobby or nothing more than a disjunct, disconnected, endless string of failed attempts and not a life?

How many years will it take before you start telling yourself, and then your family and friends in so many words, ” I cannot indulge myself with this expensive addiction any longer. Who am I kidding- it needs to be controlled and limited..”

When we passionately decided we love the arts, it can happen at any age, and we naively declare our hearts intentions to our family and friends- in those following moments, days, weeks and years after, how often do we give thought to exactly how to protect our love– let alone build an artistic life that still makes our knees buckle, our hearts pound and makes us coo “After all these years I am still madly in love with you. You give me everything in life I need. If it were not for you, where would my life be?”

(Pause)

It is almost hard for me to write another word following that thought. It gives me a big lump in my throat as I let those words sit with me.

It’s an understatement for me to say that I really hope you feel this way and always do.

And yet, if I had not thought long ago carefully about what kind of artistic life I wanted to live and then developed my entrepreneurial skills as a vehicle to achieve it, I am not sure where I would be today.

I love the view from my window. How about you?