Monday, 29 October 2007

Inspiring examples...

This has been a funny old week for me. Its been a week since I posted anything other than auction updates, yet I have felt the need to write for several days. The right topic just wouldn't come to me. Or if it did, something got in the way. Either it was too negative (blame it on a stressful week?) or circumstances transpired against me. I was all set to Blog about an amusing article on the SCA the other day, and then the original blog post/article I was responding too was removed, so down went that idea. Then I saw the Flaming Hot topic of conversation for this week 'Idols'. (Creative idols that is, not the TV show!)
"Who do you admire? Aspire to emulate? Look to as the artisan you wish to be? In setting goals and reaching higher where do you find your benchmarks? "
Wow, that is a topic and a half.
Perhaps in line with my slightly negative vibe this week, my thoughts did not instantly turn to a long list of artists who's work I admire and wish to emulate. Instead, a personal experience came to mind, where I had been disappointed in a personal interaction with someone whose work I had admired very much. And it occurred to me - how does our reaction to the person affect our reaction to the work? Can we be truly inspired by the artwork of someone who has disappointed us as people?
To answer that question, I think I need to look at how I am affected by 'inspiration' itself. Do I look at others work in order to try and create something similar? Or just to be challenged to extend myself and try something new - improve my skills? Or am I simply drawn to work that I find aesthetically beautiful, just to look, enjoy, and then move on? Thinking about it, I think for me it is more the latter. I rarely try to imitate specific styles or techniques I witness, even if they are in tutorial style books, designed to be followed. I tend to use my collection of lampworking books, art books, favourite websites, show and tell on the forums, collection of favourite images etc in much the same way I now use my cook books.
I have a great collection of cook books. And I'm a sucker for a new one. As long as it has high production values and big glossy pictures. But I am trying to curb my cook book buying impulse, as I rarely cook from recipes any more. But I do browse through cookbooks for inspiration, and then close the book, feeling inspired to try a certain ingredient or technique.
That is how the artwork of others inspires me. The appeal of an unusual colour scheme, creative use of a new technique or tool. Subconsciously they all affect me I'm sure, but I rarely, if ever, walk away from viewing the work of my peers with a concrete idea that I wish to go and try. It's more of a gradual absorption process perhaps...
So, can I still be inspired by the artwork of an idol who has proved to have 'feet of clay' in my eyes? Well, I guess in this interpretation, yes I can. I can still see the beauty and skill in their work. Who knows... perhaps it will make me a more effective critic of their work - to have the rose coloured glasses removed. After all, we need an undistorted view to truly appreciate art anyway, don't we?


Otter said...

A very insightful post. I agree with you, yes I can be inspired by an "idol" even if they have feet of clay as you would say. I think I am rather cynical and do not really have idols as it were. That being said, there are people whose work I admire greatly. People inspire me all the time. I think if I look at them from the perspective of a fellow person or artist instead of an idol, I tend to appreciate their work that much more. Thanks for the great post.


Suzanne said...

Thanks Otter. I think its always best to view potential 'idols' as real people. I have never really understood the behaviour in relation to filmstars etc. There is some I'd love to meet, but I would still be treating them as normal people...

BTW - that is a beautiful marble in your avatar!