Random (A dreXeL's Life)

dreXeL's Blog - Category: Random (A dreXeL’s Life)

Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings, Etc...

5 Things You Can Do When You Need Inspiration

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:


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

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. 🙂

The Man behind the Graff

People all over NYC know RESKEW, the graffiti writer. Famous, infamous, whatever. He’s definitely known and his tags and pieces can be seen all over the city, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. This piece below was done by Ski (top left), RESKEW (top right) and 2esae (bottom). You can check out more of Ski and 2esae’s art work from my art links. Sweet truck, huh?
reskew, ski and 2esae truck

Anyway, possibly less people know RESKEW as Miles Wickham, artist. He’s good people, a real talented artist and my friend. AND I’m co-curating his first solo show this Thursday in the East Village. So I thought I’d just give him mad props on my blog and let you all in on it.

Here’s the link to the event. Check it out, and of course, if you’re in the NYC area this Thursday stop by Sapphire Lounge! Meet the man, the myth, the legend…

I Love You, Johnny

Today is Johnny Cash’s birthday.  I love that man like crazy and it got me thinking about how he actually makes me proud to be an American.  Growing up I wasn’t very patriotic.  I wasn’t anti, I was just…ambivalent, I suppose.  But thinking about it, there are a few things that definitely make me proud to be American.  Here’s the short list:
1. The existence of NYC

2. Specifically, the existence of Brooklyn

3. Johnny Cash

4. Hip Hop

5. Pop art and culture

There are probably a few more things, but those are the first ones I thought of.  And I know I’m not alone in being so proud of Johnny Cash.  It’s practically un-American to not like him.  NOONE talks shit about Johnny Cash.  Or Elvis.  And that’s how it should be.

Happy birthday, man.  We miss ya. XOXO

TooFly’s Jewelry Debut

Last night was the debut of TooFly’s first jewelry line at All The Right in Queens.  Really good time.  I saw some of my good friends and fellow members of the Younity collective, listened to some seriously old skool tunes (to the point that I woke up this morning with “Lyrical Gangsta” in my head over and over and over), and of course got to rock my new bling…

toofly and drexel with necklace

For all the pics and the show info, click here for Toofly’s blog… 

Long Overdue Props

I know I usually post about something having to do with me. My art, my shows, whatever. I mean, it is MY blog after all. But today I feel like talking about other people. Of course it will still be MY opinions about other people. 😉

Anyway…I have some artist friends I’ve made pretty recently, and I’m real proud to know them. So it’s time to tell the world. They have just mad, endless talent. And I have been fortunate enough to hang out with them, paint with them, learn things, watch them work, AND I have some of their pieces on my walls. So yeah, I’m pretty much lucky all around. They’re really well known already, but just in case you aren’t one of the enlightened many who know about them, let me introduce you to AVONE, NOBODY, 2ESAE and SKI.

This piece is by avone. And I OWN it. You should be very jealous.

avone painting untitled

This one is a nobody(tmnk)/avone collaboration. i *heart* that rust for reals.

avone and nobody

Here’s a collabo piece by ski mst, avone, tmnk and 2esae. And one that I dig. like a LOT.

tmnk avone ski 2esae collabo

Here’s me holding up a piece that i own, in the spot in Soho where they sell their work. 2esae, avone and ski mst collabo:

me holding up avone, ski mst, tmkn, 2esae collabo

Their spot in Soho is corner of Prince and Greene…you know…so you can go out there and buy up all their paintings. Do it. You know you want to.

Thanks to avone for the photos for this post. I yanked em off his flickr page cuz I’m way too lazy to take all those photos myself. And thanks to all four of you for your inspiration, your friendship and for just making the world a more beautiful place. <3
Here are some more links if you wanna find out more…

Ski’s flickr page

2esae’s flickr page

tmnk’s flickr page

Theft Isn’t Cool, Man

I’ve been a fan of Johnny Cupcakes’ designs for years.  So I kind of keep track of the haps.  And I just had to write something about this today.

Sometimes it’s a fine line between “inspired by” and flat out STOLEN.  Not this time…  Check it.

johnny cupcakes design ripped off by billabong

In case you can’t see the image for some reason, the left side is a design by Johnny Cupcakes from 2005.  It’s a mouthful of teeth, with one gold cupcake tooth.  On the right is the new Billabong ad with the exact same teeth and the exact same gold tooth only sans cupcake.

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it isn’t rocket science to know you’re not supposed to steal another designer’s designs.  As you can see, there wasn’t even an attempt to make it original.  Unbelievable.  Sometimes you have to look at other people’s artwork to get some inspiration for your own.  But oh my god, then go MAKE YOUR OWN.  If you can’t do that, you should be in real estate or something because you’re not an artist.  Anyway…just trying to speak up for what I believe and let you know what’s what.  Check out the AUTHENTIC Johnny Cupcakes designs here.

We love you, Johnny. XO