Have you ever wondered where other people get their inspiration from? Or do you get asked where your inspiration comes from? I get asked that question quite often. And I often answer by saying inspiration is everywhere. Quite literally, it is!!! Street art is one source of inspiration for me.
I love to go to the city whenever I can. It’s always fun and exciting for me when I get the chance to go to New York City. I look at everything through fresh lenses everytime I do. It never grows old for me. I love the hustle and bustle, the sheer volumes of people streaming out of train stations onto the streets, those selling their wares on the streets, the street art and the noise. OMG the noise!!! The noise of the people, the traffic, the sirens and so much more is something else. It’s quite a lot to take in for a small town girl like me. But for the few hours I’m in the city, it’s always an invigorating experience.
One of the highlights of my trips to New York is the street art. There’s art on every corner you turn. You’ll find performing arts, people playing musical instruments and singing. And then there’s sort of art en plein air aka street art – where people are creating art right there as you stand and watch. Some will write your name in fancy typography, others will paint or draw you, or even a scene of your choosing.
Is it any wonder I’m convinced that inspiration is everywhere? Whether you go for a walk in your neck of the woods, or you sit at the stop sign in traffic waiting for the light to change, or you’re cooking your family meal and you notice the translucency of bubbles in a pot of boiling oil, you can be inspired by what’s around you. If you pay attention enough you can considerably expand your view of art. As an artist, I look at the world around me with more interest than I did before.
The last time I was in the city, I saw this street artist putting on a show as he created his original artworks. He used spray paint instead of traditional acrylics. And I stood and watched the entire process. I was enthralled by his use of everyday objects to bring life to his vision. He challenged my view of how to create art. Here are three main things I took away from watching him create his street art.
3 Lessons from NY City Street Art
Use Whatever You Can Find to Make Art
I learned not to worry about drawing perfect geometric shapes. This artist traces around everyday circular objects like saucepan lids and bottle caps to make his circles.
Challenge Your Current Techniques
He also used a lot of layering techniques. For textile artists, layering should be familiar to us. But I was interested in how he peeled away some of the top layers to reveal the bottom layers in certain portions of his painting. How could that be applied with textiles? Perhaps, we can cut away the top layer to reveal portions of the bottom layers. These are all food for thought and possible ways for expanding my thoughts on what art is and how to create art.
Practice in Public
Practicing in public – that is showing your work to people as you create it – helps boost your confidence in what you do. Although it may seem like a lot of pressure for people to follow your work in progress, the continuous feedback is good for helping you identify what works. Secondly, it makes you resolve an issue as it happens without the chance to postpone it to later. This ensures you’ll always complete whatever work you start. Maybe not in the way you’d have done it if you didn’t have the pressure of people watching you. But you’ll do it in a creative way, nonetheless. 🙂
Here’s a video of this street artist (I regret not asking him his name). Watch it and let me know if it expanded your view of how to create art in any way and what your personal takeaways are.
Next time you happen to come across a street artist, I hope you’ll pay more attention. I plan to do exactly that too.
PS: Don’t forget to leave your comments.
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Also published on Medium.