dreXeL's Blog

Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings, Etc...

5 Things You Can Do When You Need Inspiration

You want to paint, draw, sculpt, design something, write a song, whatever. Maybe it’s for a client, maybe for yourself. It happens on occasion that you have just zero idea of what to do, no inspiration. Nothing. It’s not a big deal, certainly nothing to worry about. It happens. And it’s easily handled. Here are a few things I do to overcome these moments.

1. Look at other people’s artist portfolios.

This is always helpful and inspiring to me. I use Pinterest a lot for this, and just do a search for whatever it is I can’t seem to do at that moment. “Magazine page layout” or “Mixed media painting” or whatever. Find a creation that inspires you and then see if that artist’s website is linked. Or do a separate google search for that artist’s website and portfolio. You’ll be amazed and how inspiring this can be. It’s usually all I need to get rolling again.

Here’s one artist’s portfolio I was looking at today actually…for inspiration. He’s am amazing artist and designer. There’s something really nostalgic for me about his work. Reminds me really good times with glue and scissors and markers, making collages I did as a kid, erasing supermodel’s eyes on magazine covers so they looked white, or blacking out some teeth with a sharpie. Writing notes with cut magazine letters, etc.

His name is {ths} aka Thomas Schostok. His website is http://www.ths.nu/.

2. Go outside and photograph textures.

This point is strange and miraculous to me. Whenever I’ve gone outside and looked specifically for textures of things, paint on walls, metal pipes, concrete, stucco, rust, wood, beehives, and taken some nice closeup shots of what I find, I’ve ALWAYS gotten at least one good painting or possibly a whole series out of that activity. These macro shots make amazing backgrounds for design projects, collages or mixed media paintings. Plus you never know what you’re going to find until you go out and LOOK. It’s very therapeutic. Trust me.

3. Work out the ideal scene for the project.

If you have a project for a client, and you just can’t come up with ANYTHING creative, chances are this step has not been done. What would the perfect version of what the client wants LOOK like? Let’s say client wants a logo and has given you a few details of what he’s looking for, what he likes and doesn’t like. If you can’t automatically envision an amazing idea or two for this logo, it’s likely you don’t have enough information to be able to be inspired. What does the company do, make, sell, manufacture, etc.? Who are its public? How to they want to be viewed? If you get enough data about the company and the brand, you’ll get a bright idea. If you still can’t, get more info until you can.

And branding and logo books are super helpful for this too. For inspiration. My favorite logo book currently is “Logo Design Love” by David Airey. Here’s the website/blog for the book:

http://www.logodesignlove.com/

4. Invent a photo project.

Art projects, like the ones art students do in school, are really helpful to get creative ideas going. So just come up with a single thing to photograph. Like if you were going to make a coffee table book of doors in your town. Go out and take the most beautiful photos of doors in your neighborhood that you possibly can. That should unstick something.

Other photo project ideas that can be done quickly (off the top of my head):

Photographs of things through other transparent things.

Photographs of eyes

Photographs of shadows or reflections or negative space.

These little projects take 30 minutes and can be so helpful. For me it’s just a matter of getting a different view, forcing myself to look outward at life and finding the beauty in things.

5. Buy art and design books that inspire you. Or, alternately, check them out of a library.

Personally, I like to have at least a small collection of my favorite art and design books I find on Amazon. I spend my life on the computer, so I find it helpful to actually have physical pages in actual books to hold and read for art inspiration. I just get books that interest and inspire me on creative subjects that I’m interested in. Branding, logos, design trends, my favorite graphic designers, etc. Go to an actual physical bookstore and look through the art and design books. Or whatever creative subjects you need inspiration for. Find something that creates an effect on you and BUY it. Or do the same at a library, if you don’t want to spend money on books. They can get expensive. It’s nice to have them onhand for those uninspired moments, though. I go back to my favorites ALL THE TIME. And consequently, my uninspired moments are just that…moments.

XO, dreX

5 Creative Things Guaranteed to Lift Your Spirits

Ok fine…I can’t actually guarantee that. But these things always work for me, no matter WHAT. So it’s only fair that I share them. I’m giving you #1 now. Stick around for the rest. They’re coming.

#1. 24 Hours of Happy

I honestly don’t know how Pharrell Williams managed to create a song that actually cheers EVERYONE up. You just can’t be in a bad mood when you hear this song. This video I actually had on for an entire work day in December. And I still like it. That’s amazing. So if you don’t know about it, the video is just people being videoed singing and dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy” for a 24 hour period. When it first loads, it goes to whatever time it is in your time zone on your computer and plays the video from that time. Then continues throughout the day. Watch it and let me know what you think. Just TRY to be mad. I DARE ya.

#2. Make something creative out of stuff you have around the house.

Being creative is ALWAYS fun, and ALWAYS therapeutic. There are a million ways to do this. I will probably have to make a whole separate series of posts for household creative projects, but for now…one way you can be creative at home is to repurpose something you don’t use and make it something you DO use. This page is a gold mine of ideas!

Come up with your own and send me pics so I can show them off to the world!!!

#3 Make cute, adorable food

I did this more when I had kids around the house, because they freaking LOVED when I did it. It’s a bit time consuming but SO worth it. Basically, I made flowers and faces out of food before I served it, in japanese Bento tradition. Black sesame seeds are good for eyes or freckles or a tiny mouth. Pink cheeks or spots on an animal can be made using the end of a straw to cut a circle out of a slice of ham. Same method with cheese. Here are some examples for inspiration. You can really go nuts with this. There are machines that cut nori (seaweed) into the shapes you need to make different smileys, rice molds for animal shapes, even hard-boiled egg molds for animal shapes, vegetable cutters. I didn’t buy all that stuff. But I got as close as putting them in my Amazon wish list. You can get the most finicky kids to eat their veggies this way, while you get some creative therapy. Win-win.

#4 Standup Comedy

Laughter has been used to lift spirits for centuries. One’s sense of humor is very personal, so you’ll need to find what makes YOU laugh. But if you’ve got Netflix, it won’t take you long. Youtube videos provide a free and endless source of entertaining videos as well. Spotify has audio comedy. Also free.

My go-to comic for relief is Bill Burr. He’s got three specials on Netflix. I suggest watching them in chronological order.

#5 Turn your trash into a creative project.

This is a variation of the repurposing idea from #2 in this series. This time we’re taking literal TRASH, and making it into something aesthetic, or possibly functional even! There are endless creative things you can do with potential trash…wine corks, beer caps, etc. You can do a google search for “wine cork art” to see for yourself.

This particular project uses toilet paper tubes and an egg carton. When you’re done you can display them, hang them from the ceiling, Use them in a spring centerpiece on a table, whatever you want.

Thank you Michele Pacey for your inspiration and bits of creative genius. :)

SOLD!



-1, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

“Buddy Holly” officially has a new and awesome 50’s style home. I couldn’t be happier!

“Biggie” Painting Published in New 2Pac VS Biggie Illustrated Book!

Finally, today, I received my long-awaited copy of the new “2Pac VS Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap’s Greatest Battle” by Jeff Weiss and Evan McGarvey!

The book:
My page:

The book is beautiful, with so many amazing artists’ renditions of 2Pac and/or Biggie. My painting is on page 128. I wanted to let everyone know that prints of my Biggie painting are available currently on FineArtAmerica.com. Here’s the link: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/biggie-drexel.html

And of course, if you want the book, it’s available on Amazon.com. Get it here:

Buddy Holly

One of the new pieces in my series of artists who died tragically before their time…
RIP Buddy.



buddy holly, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

Kurt Cobain



cobain, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

Hendrix

UPDATE: This painting was sold even before I finished it. I’m actually considering doing another one just for me. I truly LOVED that painting.



hendrix, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

One of my favorites in my new series of artists/musicians who died before their time. Jimi Hendrix is part of what’s known as the “27 club”, a sort of believed curse in the music industry, due to the high number of musicians who’ve died at the age of 27. I have a feeling I’m not going to sell this one. I just love it too much.

Janis!

Janis Joplin, another member of the “27 Club” and one of my new paintings.

janis, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

Lennon

John Lennon, mixed media on canvas. Just completed. Contains spray paint, nail polish, acrylic, ink and paint markers. To those with food allergies, this painting does NOT contain nuts, shellfish, chocolate, soy, or actually anything which could be considered “food” by anyone who is even remotely sane.



lennon, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

nico

Nico is the oldest of all the people in this series of artists who died tragically before their time. It was just tragic to ME, I guess, because she was strung out on heroin, managed to get OFF heroin, then died shortly afterward from a brain hemorrhage. I don’t know…it kind of felt…unjust to me.



nico, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

New series “Before their Time” almost done.

I’m super excited about my new series, “Before their Time”. The ones that are done are pictured here: “Biggie”, “Jimi”, “Basquiat”, “Cobain” and a bit of “Janis” in the right corner.

Here’s a pretty lo res shot of a few of the pieces in the series.

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly is so amazing to me! I HAD to make sure to include him in this new series.

He has inspired so many millions of people and he only lived to be 22! His death by plane crash with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper was just a huge tragedy. To lose 3 superstar musicians in an instant like that. It was before my time, but I imagine that just created a ripple of sadness through the world.

Here’s one piece for my upcoming Raw Artists Las Vegas show on Thursday. The theme of the series is “Before their Time”. If you’re in the area the show is Thursday, June 28th 8pm – midnight @ The Royal House, 99 Convention Center Drive, Las Vegas. Stop by!
XO, dreXeL

Symbiosis



Symbiosis, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

Final painting of the “Moving Forward” series for upcoming silent auction. 16 x 20 Mixed media on canvas.

Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer of Hope, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

2nd in the “Moving Forward” series for upcoming silent auction. 16 x 20 Mixed media on canvas.

If You Really Look

If You Really Look, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

!st of 3 paintings themed “Moving Forward” for upcoming silent auction. 16 x 20 Mixed media on canvas.

tea time



tea time, originally uploaded by i am drexel.

The original painting was sold to one of my awesome collectors, but I’m working on making it print ready now. I think I shall make a new iphone case for myself with it!

In other news, my first First Friday was really fun! So nice to meet other artists there and other art enthusiasts and general local people having a good time. First Friday in Las Vegas is quite fun, and with the new acquision I am extremely positive that it will continue to get larger, more fun and infinitely awesomer over the months.