Finding Unique Inspiration as a Modern Artist

Panda Painting from Ning Yeh's Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide. This book has an excellent chapter on painting Panda which is a subject that is surprisingly absent from most books with a classical point of view.

Technology Provides Instant Sharing of Ideas

Our modern era has accurately been dubbed the "Information Age." Advances in computers and networking have created an experience of "instant sharing." Photos, paintings, and even experiences are captured on cellphones and blasted out via social media networks. The latest situation with the pandemic has popularized technology where artists can learn from teachers virtually with both teacher and student participating from the comfort of their own homes.

In the past getting access to information and inspiration or even being aware of what other artists were doing was much more difficult. I am constantly amazed by what is available on the internet. On YouTube, you can find jaw-dropping drone video footage of even the most remote locations. Stunning macro photography that shows the remarkable zoomed in detail of flowers or birds and insects are uploaded to websites like unsplash.com and available for free download.

Video footage taken of Yellow Mountain (Huangshan 黄山) from a small flying drone with a built-in video camera. Just ten years ago you would have needed to rent a helicopter to get this kind of footage.

Macro shot of a peony by Anca Gabriela Zosin downloaded from Unsplash.com

The Trappings of Being a Modern Artist

The problem with being a modern artist is not access to information but information overload. With the flood of images and information available, it is easy to lose track of one's own artistic voice. I have seen this many times with song writers especially. They often will do their best work with very little awareness of what other songwriters are doing. Then, once they become well known, there is pressure from their managers to repeat what they have already done successfully or what other artists have done successfully.

The ones who successfully transcend these pressures often go to remote places and cut off connection with the outside world to reconnect with their own unique artistic identity or source of inspiration.

Practical Tips

Here are some practical tips for the modern artist that will help you make best use of all the inspiration and resources that modern technology empowers while at the same time staying true to your own unique identity as an artist.

  • All art flows from your state of being. States of being are decisions. The most important thing you can do is to DECIDE to BE an ARTIST.
  • Allow yourself to be freely inspired by other artists. Especially as you are learning to become an artist. Don't be afraid to copy other as a means to developing your own uniqueness.
  • As you take in inspiration be aware of the trappings of negative comparison. Often times when we compare ourselves to other artists we do so through the negative lens of our own insecurities. We see other artist's work objectively while we view our own negatively. Art is not a competition. 
  • Do not allow the wide availability of art or beautiful images to affect the confidence in the value of your art or yourself as an artist. The world values what you produce as an extension of your own self appreciation. Love yourself and you will find that there will always be an appreciative audience for what you create as an artist.
  • Take time to focus your attention inward and reconnect with your own internal inspiration. Quiet your mind, turn off all electronic devices and meditate or do some meditative activity like practicing your strokes or taking a walk in nature. The refreshing feeling that you feel after these activities is evidence that you have reconnected to your own unique source of power and inspiration.
  • There is no better time to make the choice to be an artist. We, as your OAS Family, are here to support your choice and to remind you of how much you are loved and valued.

Leave a comment