What initially started as a light-hearted, fun list of ways to overcome artist’s block and lack of inspiration, turned into something a little bit different. I think a lot of creatives are having a difficult time right now; when the world seems so dark and daunting, it might seem useless to keep creating. It also might just be difficult to find that spark of creativity when you feel bogged down by world events. I am still going to write about artist’s block, finding inspiration, etc. I just want to do it through the lens of understanding that this is especially difficult work for us right now.
I think a lot of folks think that quarantine must be some sort of magical time for introverts and creatives. After all, introverts get all the alone time they want, and creatives have entire days to create, right? From personal experience, and from my knowledge of the experiences that professional artists are having, that isn’t true for everyone. Even the most introverted introvert needs some socialization (I’m living proof of that!), and creatives need to have input and energy from the outside world to keep them going. That being said, I think that there are a wide variety of ways in which artists are affected by world events, so I’m going to list a few types that I can think of, and give some solutions for each!
Lack of Creative Input
Perhaps you normally take an art class at school, create things with your friends, or find inspiration from nature. Being torn away from those sources of inspiration leaves you bound to fall into artist’s block. However, there are definitely ways to substitute those sources of creative input, even while stuck at home! If you’re looking for some instruction, like you would receive in a class, there are a lot of YouTube channels* that offer things like that. There are also a lot of museums that are offering virtual tours* right now, which I think is so cool, since you can see art from halfway around the world that you wouldn’t be able to see, even if we weren’t social distancing! If you find that you usually find inspiration in natural places that you no longer have access to, I encourage you to look for the signs of nature around your home! Whether it’s looking at a tree outside of your window, spotting a weed growing through the crack of pavement, or keeping dried flowers in your bedroom, it really is remarkable how many signs of greenery and plant life you can find all around you, even if you’ve never noticed it before.
The Pandemic: To Paint or Not to Paint?
Pardon me for the cheesy topic title. What I mean by it is figuring out what subject matter serves you best right now! I know that a lot of artists and creatives are taking this time to make “activist art;” that is, making art that reflects the outside world, and perhaps provides solutions or other important messages about it. This kind of art can definitely feel really liberating! It’s kind of like taking control of a negative situation, in a way that’s attainable. In your art, you get to decide which perspectives you amplify: the suffering of some, the help that others provide, or the joy of people coming together in difficult times. However, a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed and bombarded by the current world events, and would rather use art as a tool to “escape” the world. That is also a completely valid reaction, and one that viewers of art would also benefit from! Art is beautiful in the way that it can entertain, heal, and bring peace, and you don’t have to dwell on negative situations if that doesn’t serve you right now. In such a case, try to make art about things that certainly bring you joy, whether that’s fanart, cute portraits, or fun abstract things.
Share or Keep Private?
In a sense, this might seem similar to the last topic. Does this feel like the time to share your work with others right now, or to keep it private? Maybe this feels like a good time to spread your work around, share it with others, spread whatever messages you think are important, and use your voice. However, it also might feel better to keep things private. Perhaps if you’re making therapeutic things, you’d feel like keeping it to yourself. If sharing your work would put unnecessary pressure on you, then that might not be something you need right now. If you normally share your work, and are now finding yourself stuck in an art block, it’s quite possible that creating things with the knowledge that they’ll be kept private is all you really need.
Hold Yourself Accountable
For some, it works to go with the flow, and make art whenever you feel like it. That is a great way of making art in a stressful time, if it works for you. However, you might find it beneficial to set a schedule, goals, or challenges for yourself. It’s really easy to get stuck in an emotional rut when you’ve been home for this long, but if you can hold yourself accountable and responsible for one thing—whether that’s a pet, working out, or in this case, art—you’re taking back the power. It can be so, so freeing to make promises to yourself, and keep them. This could take all sorts of forms. Maybe you want to get better at drawing hands, so you set a goal to sit down and draw five hands a day. Maybe you promise yourself to work on a painting for at least one hour per day. Or, maybe you commit yourself to finishing a list of ideas or prompts. Speaking of which (~self-promo~), I’m going to be posting an art challenge soon! It’ll be five summery prompts, spreading from June 8-12 (although you’re welcome to follow the prompts whenever you’d like). If you’re interested, I’ll keep you updated and link the message board below once it’s posted.
And those are all of my thoughts and tips on how to get through this time, while staying as creatively fulfilled as possible. If you have any ideas, experiences, or thoughts on this, please feel free to leave them down below! I hope at least one person found this useful, and as always, thanks for reading!
*Mentioned Resources (always receive parental permission before clicking a link to exit NMG!)
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