The Chicken or the Egg?

| 07 August, 2011 20:32

I think one of the most frequently asked questions of an artist or crafter is "where does your inspiration come from?"

I thought about this question as I strolled through the "Art Walk", and viewed art works in Old Strathcona, during a recent street festival in Edmonton. One of the very best things about Edmonton in the summer, is the number of festivals that occur-Jazz, Art Walk, the Silly Parade, Street Performers, Folk Fest, Heritage Days, the Fringe, and Harvest festivals.

The Art Walk attracted 363 emerging and established artists this year; spread over 2.8 km, with foot traffic of over 30,000 people, according to organizers. That's a lot of artistic folk with a lot of inspiration!

"Our primary focus is on the fine arts; painting, sculpture, abstract, realism, every subject matter you can think of." And so, there were interpretations of memories, ideas, sights, emotions, scenery.

Which brings me back to the question I started with...inspiration; the influence that suggests options. I once attended an art quilt exhibition of which one small portion of the exhibit was devoted to small 12"x12" fabric "quilts" each depicting an artist's interpretation of an experience with cancer. The artists didn't need words to express fear, anger, pain, depression, or body mutilation; the violence of clashing colors, jagged and aggressive stitching lines, repetitive circular patterns, and the juxtaposition of textures all said what was intended.

I don't think I can say what inspires me to create- other than the colors themselves. When i look at a ripening canola field, against a backdrop of the variegated greens of poplars and evergreens, with a heavy grey sky overhead, I don't rush home to find beads to recreate this image in jewelry; but I do find myself playing with the combination of barnboard grey picasso finish beads, old golds, and blue green grey stones because the colors strike me as being particularly attractive together. Maybe sometime there will be a piece made with these colors.

Sometimes, it is the color combo used that suggests the memory. My "New Frontier" bracelet was named after recalling the adobe like whitewashed walls of a monastery; the ancient dark wood pillars supporting a doorway, thick old ivy vines crawling up over the frame, and a vivid blue wall just visible through the opening.

Asking me where my inspiration comes from is like asking me what came first; the chicken or the egg?