“What to do when inspiration doesn’t come; be careful not to spook, get the wind up, force things into position. You must wait around until the idea comes.”
John Huston- American film director, screenwriter and actor
In the service of creating art as a contractor the time it takes to reach a great idea varies, sometimes it’s instant as in the case of the Mothercluckers mural (discussed in the first part of this series) to several weeks depending on the topic, the customer or the space involved. On rare occasions a project doesn’t move forward; but I keep in communication with the client and if possible, recommend another artist or solution to better suit their needs. I can really relate to John Huston’s quote because developing a process of waiting for inspiration took practice!
I’ve learned to wait for an idea by doing research: watching a documentary, a movie or a television show on the topic, or browsing books and searching Google images. At times certain music, waiting in line at a store or something seen on vacation plants the seed of a new design. Patience mixed with a studious and observant nature play an important part in my creative process.
When it comes to creating a custom design there are 3 main sources I use to get ideas started:
1. ART HISTORY
2. VINTAGE ADVERTISEMENTS
The classic print advertisements of the 1920’s through the mid 1970’s use beautiful layout, color and font to present an array of products; each period distinctly reflects its own style, use of language, and social standards of the day.
From my Mother’s homemaker magazines to my collection of vintage magazines as a teen to a current personal library of books on the topic and of course – Google images, these superb designs provide a wealth of information. I have spent much time poring over the past through classic print ads. They have influenced my tastes and manner of expression – both verbally and artistically.
This life-long fascination with early print promotion comes in handy! Basel owns The Pizza Shoppe – a family restaurant that features parties where children create their own pizza pie. During our consultation in his pizzeria, Basel began waving his hands around and exclaimed, “I want pizza craziness!” In defining this thought he described the fun and noise of 10 to 30 kids making personal pizzas.
Later that week I was looking through one of my favorite advertising books, Advertising in America (Goodrum & Dalrymple, 1990), when a 1926 Coca-Cola ad caught my eye. The Art Deco use of the line that functions as the soda fountain counter inspired my design for The Pizza Shoppe. It became a red line bordering the restaurant and served as a table for the illustrated chefs to prepare pizzas. Memories of a “Ren & Stimpy” cartoon- Space Madness, contributed the floating, jumbo ingredients to create Basel’s “pizza craziness”.
In this example, classic advertising was the spark (with pop culture as an accelerant) that helped me produce a special mural for a unique business. Basel was so pleased with the results that he had me paint a portion of the mural in his second location.
- graphic design projects.
- writing catchy slogans, titles, and other text.
- developing the perfect promotional pitch.
- researching the fashions of a particular period.
Thank you for all the positive feedback from my first installment on the topic of stimulating the imagination and I hope you enjoyed this one. See my third and most important source of inspiration on Monday!