"If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you've got to realize that influence is not influence. It's simply someone's idea going through my new mind." - Jean-Michel Basquiat
One thing you need to know about me is I'm not a big movie person. I'm a reader and writer. I observe people in real life and I often wonder what their story is. I invent narratives for them, and I create their futures.
However, I did watch a documentary called "The Radiant Child" on one of my favourite artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Though I am familiar with his works, I learned in this film how cerebral he was, and more importantly, how he put himself in the thick of alternative culture, a culture that was also interdisciplinary. He incorporated writing in his visual art, but he was also part of a noise band called Gray.
When he painted, he surrounded himself with various "source material" including books, television and music in the background. At first that struck me as frankly too much stimuli, but then I started thinking about what inspires me to write.
Art, conversations, objects, books I've read, personal anecdotes --- the list goes on and on. I started to think about what happens when you surround yourself with different source material, as Basquiat calls it, when creating a single type of art. For him, though visual in nature, it garnered work that was multi-layered, referential, but altogether something inspiring.
For me, the documentary had three great take-aways for finding inspiration.
1. Immerse Yourself in a Creative Community
Find a diverse and flourishing alternative creative scene, and become a part of it. When you surround yourself with other creatives, it spawns more creativity. It also provides a supportive community for you, through the good times and the bad.
2. Be Interdisciplinary
As a content writer, you're expected to wear many hats, but those skill sets are usually loosely tied together. Basquiat joined a band without really knowing how to make music, but make music he did. Tinker with subjects and elements outside of your comfort zone, who knows what hidden talent you might discover?
3. Surround Yourself With Source Material
Inspiration comes from many sources, and constantly having whatever inspires you, be it books or magazines, can only spark more inspiration. Flip through a book, go for a walk, or watch something while you're working. Who knows what could come from these sources? If you're lucky, maybe a masterpiece.
Do you have any tips for getting inspired? Share yours in the comments!