I should point out that stuff that inspires me isn't necessarily the same as stuff I like. I'm sure various people who know me would say, "why haven't you mentioned such and such?" Well that's because it's something I like, love or heart wrenchingly adore, but it doesn't inspire me to create a masterpiece. This section of my blog is about what makes me do what I do.
So the things that most inspire me are...
1. Bright Colours
Death to pastels! Some of my work has been described as migraine-inducing, but I don't care. I like stuff that stands out from the crowd and yells "oi, look at me!"
I'd say my favourite colour's orange, because it's warm and cuddly, but professionally I've been using the colour scheme of yellow, cerise and black, as seen on this page, for many years. I think it sums up the different sides of my personality that I like to project in my working life. The yellow is the warm, happy, friendly side that's dominant. I don't like girly pink but the cerise is hot-blooded, determined and ambitious (although not as cut-throat as red). The hint of black could represent my bizarre sense of humour, or maybe reflect that things in my life haven't always gone to plan.
I mentioned in my last post that my freehand drawing's a bit rusty. So a lot of my designs are based around simple geometry. 2 ovals, 2 triangles, 5 lines et voila! Any mammal of your choice. Rotations, reflections and symmetry often feature quite heavily. For an artist I have quite a mathematical mind, so a ruler, compass and protractor are as much a vital part of my art box as paint brushes and pencils.
They're brightly coloured AND geometric! Flags inspire me because they're the ultimate kind of branding, they bind whole nations together under one logo. The Union Jack, in particular, fascinates me, as it was created by combining the flags of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland yet each of these nations still keeps their individual flag too. (Interesting fact: at the time of the Union Jack's design, the English flag was assumed to include the Welsh nation, which is why there's no separate representation for Wales on the Union Jack.) Then there's the debate about how the Union Jack got hijacked for extreme right wing purposes and whether it's more jingoistic than patriotic. A fascinating topic and one I may come back to when I'm in a reflective mood with naff all else to say.
Here's a confession. Art galleries leave me a bit cold. I don't mind them but I don't rush to see all the new exhibitions. Instead, I prefer to look at all the art that's around us every day, the stuff that nay-sayers don't even think of as art. That's why I studied graphics and not fine art. I love classic adverts and wallpaper and T shirts and greetings cards. But most of all I love mugs.
Here are my 4 favourite mugs. Each one is a different size and each one is for a specific type of drink. I have 4 other mugs, plus the general household ones, but these are the ones I use every day. Winnie the Pooh was a present, the beige speckly one was a household mug that I never bothered to put back on the rack and I bought the other 2 myself. I chose Spring Chicken because it's orange and I was born in the spring. The blue apple mug appealed to me because it's a rare day when I don't munch my way through my 5 portions of fruit and veg!
So mugs inspire me because they're little bits of artwork that people buy or have given to them to reflect something of their personality. Then they get loyal to them, use them several times a day and even mourn them when the handle drops off. They bring people joy and relief, warm them up, cool them down and contain pools of liquid yumminess. Mugs are happy art.
Words are beautiful things. What they can express, how they look, how they sound, what they can make you feel. Funny words, angry words, inspiring words, friendly words. Not rude words if my Mum's in earshot. Definitely not incomprehensible grunts.
I hate lazy spelling (although the odd "gonna" or something can be used to good effect from time to time) and I'm an unapologetic apostrophe Nazi.
Text speak is evil and must be stamped on from a great height before it irreparably destroys the English language. Anyone writing the expression "should of", "would of", etc should be sentenced to 5 years' hard labour.
Oof, I'm a bit passionate about this, aren't I?
There's one other thing that inspires me more than anything else, but you'll have to read the next entry to see what that is.