THE ARTIST’S DILEMMA: INSPIRATION OR FEAR?

        What is inspiration? Good question. Well, instead of giving you a definition from a dictionary, I decided to give you my own definition. Why do you ask? Well, because I am feeling inspired right now;-). What I feel is inexplicable, invisible, subtle, but very much present in me. For me, inspiration is the breath of the spirit, when it inhales a mysterious energy that surpasses us and makes us reborn for a moment. In that instant, our spirit discovers itself and expands, allowing us to access a dimension of ourselves that we did not know.

As an artist, a moment of inspiration is for me like a juicy fruit I savor every bite of, but cannot help but share. So when I create a piece of work, I want you to see what I see.  But what gives me even more pleasure is that you see what I don’t see. When someone gives me their own interpretation of one of my works, pointing out one angle that I had not thought of, it is for me the ultimate consecration. Why is that? Because it is a proof that besides pulling that person into my universe, I’ve succeeded in expanding theirs, in short, I’ve inspired them. In other words, seeing you inspired inspires me, and so we create a virtuous circle of inspiration. What a bliss!

How do I get inspired? By reading the description of my works in the store, you will realize that inspiration comes to me in the simplest moments of life. It takes me by surprise, with an image, an idea, a word, a quote, an emotion, and triggers in me the sudden desire to materialize it on a canvas. But before I start working on the canvas, I first follow a process which is the following.

I look for a title for the work; this step takes the form of several title suggestions (usually 3 or 4). This is a mental process that allows me to give the work an artistic direction. I prefer to do this because I have found that sitting in front of a blank canvas waiting for inspiration to come only brings me boredom and exasperation. So part of my creative process is more reflective than intuitive.

Once the title and the idea are more or less crystallized in my mind, I start drawing. In all honesty, I consider myself having poor drawing skills, but I believe to have a keen eye for detail, which allows me to reproduce what I see fairly accurately. So I often draw inspiration from non-copyrighted images on various sites for postures or body parts that I have trouble visualizing. In addition, I am increasingly taking reference photos of myself or my family members for anatomical purposes and authenticity in my creative process.

So I begin to sketch out my vision and there, inspiration meets a strong opponent; fear. Yes, I am fearful. Generally, the more work my idea involves, the more afraid I am. Sometimes it’s the sheer size of my blank canvas that impresses me. “Why is that?” You may ask. There are many answers to that question, including “I’m a fraud”, “I’m not a true artist”, “I have no formal training as an artist and have never set a foot in an art school”, “How could anyone like my art”, “That artist is so much more talented than me”. It’s sad to say, but these are the kind of thoughts that run through my head when I express my vision on canvas. Not very inspiring huh… I know. But then again, should I let these thoughts get to me? No way.

So, I breathe in, I breathe out, slowly, deeply, and with each stroke of my pencil and brush, my artistic inspiration and passion eventually take over, gradually giving birth to a piece of my heart devoid of fear. This is the struggle I face whenever I create a new piece. A struggle that I always dread, but that I always win.  I am an artist, period. That’s all that matters, it seems.

So if, one day, you also find yourself facing this formidable adversary that is fear, breathe in, breathe out, slowly, deeply, and step forward. Come on, just step forward. You will see that the more you move forward, the smaller this adversary becomes, until it becomes tiny to eventually disappear. That is what fear is; an exaggerated invention of our imagination. So let’s try to paint the reality we want. 

 

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