What Inspires Me?

Michelle Genders of Port Macquarie, Australia is creating work daily based on what inspires her.


Why did you decide to do this project? My theme for the October 2019 Creative Sprint was "What inspires me?" I thought I only had a small amount of time and energy to devote to it. I was surprised to find that even when there was very little time, there were still some decent outcomes. Even if the outcome wasn't that great on a particular day, the creative act helped move me to a new place for the next day and sometimes lead to something great on a future day.

Then there were days when there actually was quite a bit of time and space to unleash the muse! I so enjoyed stepping back into the creative flow and making it a priority. It is so compelling once I have the urge to make something, I just can't stop till it's done. My current daily practice is often experimental drawing, but it is also really fun to mix it up by opening up to any material or medium according to the idea I get in response to the prompt.


I'm continuing on to complete a 365 project on the “What inspires me?” theme. I found there has been so much wisdom in contemplating this question. I felt like each time I answered it, I uncovered another layer. I want to know what's underneath all the layers! I've experienced the momentum that gets built up with Creative Sprint for one month and I've long wanted to see how that evolves when sustained for a 365 project.

Noah recently posted that he did 365 skulls because "it just came to me!" I’ve had the same experience, and following what comes to me has lead to some fantastic places. I’ve completed monthly themes of 'public art', 'blues', 'change is the only constant', 'spirals' and 'inside outside'. Although these were good while they lasted, I was ready to let them go at the end. I've been waiting for a theme that I can commit to for a whole year – and it has finally come! 


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've had a daily creative practice since 2016 when I first became involved in the Creative Sprint community. I've completed eight Creative Sprints as well as Skull-A-Day. I also completed more than 365 sticky note drawings and put them out into the world.

It has really entrenched my daily art making. Previous to that, I was making art regularly, but it was quite separate from daily life. I would generally do paid work on some days and do art making on the other days. I would carefully select materials then spend months and months on one work and kept it in my studio until it was exhibited.


Creative Sprint led to the collapse of the boundaries between art and life – now I can make art anywhere at any time using anything I can get my hands on! You are forced to consider the world around you and the resources that you have available to quickly implement solutions and effectively communicate them visually within 24 hours. That leaves little room for perfectionism and a lot of room to follow curiosity. Taken alone, what I make each day might be either a meh or yeah! Taken together, it keep me creatively fit. I make surprising discoveries every day when I approach the world in the way that a Creative Sprint prompt helps cultivate. If I hold the prompt lightly and look out for the "sparks" and follow them,  the world becomes a place of play and possibility. It is exciting to see what might happen on any given day!

Sometimes when I read the prompt, I know immediately what I want to do. Mostly, it takes a couple of hours for an idea to coalesce. Occasionally I’ll draw a complete blank and it doesn't get resolved until the 11th hour. In any case, I have learned to trust that something will fall into place that is right for me on that day, given the resources that I have access to.


I’ve completed daily projects while on vacation. It’s inspired me to do more than just look at and take photos of things. Creatively responding to the new places I’m visiting makes the experience of travelling even more fun! When there is downtime, for example while waiting for a train connection, it is great to have something to do. When the day is full of activities, it forces spontaneous and unexpected decisions.

I completed the Skull-A-Day project because I disliked skulls. I challenged myself to work with something I felt was ugly and scary. At the end of the project, I had less fear of them than when I had started and a greater acceptance of my mortality. I saw their value in being a symbol that could be easily constructed and communicated using pretty much any material.

From watching the creations made by the Creative Sprint community, I have come to strongly believe that every single human being is inherently creative. Not just some people. Every single one of us. We all get the same prompt and we end making different things. Every single day! It’s truly beautiful. One of the best ways to build community is by practicing creativity together.


I’ve learnt to enjoy the journey and bring creative energy to any situation I find myself in. Art can get pretty serious, but art can be enjoyable to make and enjoyable to view. No one owns creativity. Practice it because you can and no one can take that away from you. Try out a new process, see a weird idea crystallize, express a feeling that has been bottled up inside, re-figure a mundane material that you normally wouldn’t give a second thought. Because LIFE can get pretty serious, but LIFE can also be fun!

See more of Michelle's project on Instagram @michelle.genders!

Foreground/Background podcast episode 9: Taraka Larson

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast is out now! Give it a listen below or subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every new episode as soon as it comes out.



In this episode I interview Taraka Larson. Taraka is most well known for the band Prince Rama, a collaborative, decade-long project made up of herself and sister, Nimai. Her visual art practice, an extension of her music, has garnered her opportunities to show internationally, including exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and Brooklyn Museum. Since Nimai’s departure from the band, Taraka has recently released Rage In Peace a solo Prince Rama album as a farewell EP.
  • In this hour long conversation we discuss:
  • Growing up in creative families
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Creating music
  • Following your passions
  • The Spirituality of Creativity
  • and more!
I couldn’t have made this podcast without the support and encouragement of my Patreon supporters! If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And of course if you’re not already a Patreon supporter I hope you’ll check it out at Patreon.com/NoahScalin. For as little as $2 a month you get access to my studio and practice including content available nowhere else.

Foreground/Background podcast episode 8: Rob Tarbell

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast is out now! Give it a listen below or subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every new episode as soon as it comes out.




In this episode I interview Rob Tarbell. Rob has been recognized for developing unique and unorthodox processes involving the indirect manipulation and exploitation of the inherent material properties of smoke and porcelain. Tarbell’s work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Korea, China, and England. He is currently teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts.

In this hour long conversation we discuss:
  • Art Education
  • Careers
  • Burnout
  • Networking
  • and more!
I couldn’t have made this podcast without the support and encouragement of my Patreon supporters! If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And if you're not already a supporter, you can join in for as little as $2 a month and get exclusive content and early access to my projects! Find out more HERE


Foreground/Background podcast episode 7: Jenny Kendler

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast is out now! Give it a listen below or subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every new episode as soon as it comes out.




In this episode I interview Jenny Kendler. She is an interdisciplinary artist, environmental activist, naturalist and wild forager who lives in Chicago and various forests. Jenny holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a BFA from The Maryland Institute College of Art. She currently helps run the artist residency ACRE and the art/research/activism initiative Deep Time Chicago. Jenny is also the first Artist-in-Residence with the Natural Resources Defense Council!

In this hour long conversation we discuss:
  • Protected knowledge
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Finding your community
  • Online Platforms
  • and more!

I couldn’t have made this podcast without the support and encouragement of my Patreon supporters! If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And if you're not already a supporter, you can join in for as little as $2 a month and get exclusive content and early access to my projects! Find out more HERE

Foreground/Background podcast episode 6: Joe Seipel

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast, about the day to day aspects of making a living as an artist, is out now! Take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every episode when it comes out.

Joe Seipel is a sculptor and conceptual artist who served as a Virginia Commonwealth University faculty member for over 40 years, including 17 years as chair of the sculpture department, 8 ½ years as the Senior Associate Dean of the School of the Arts. And in 2018 even returned from retirement to spend a year as the interim director of VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art (not to mention a two year stint as vice president at Savannah College of Art and Design). Now a professor emeritus, Joe has returned to a studio art practice. His work is monumental in scale and ranges from conceptually-based objects to multimedia pieces and robotics. His work has been shown internationally including exhibitions in New York City, Peru, Milan, Baltimore, and of course Richmond, Virginia.

If you enjoy this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And of course if you’re not already a Patreon supporter I hope you’ll check it out at Patreon.com/NoahScalin.

Foreground/Background podcast episode 5: Pallavi Sen

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast, about the day to day aspects of making a living as an artist, is out now! Take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every episode when it comes out.



Pallavi Sen is a multi-talented artist from Bombay, India who works with installation, printmaking, textiles, and intuitive movement. Pallavi has obtained an array of creative jobs in addition to receiving a handful of artist residencies and currently teaches as an Assistant Professor of Art at Williams College. Her recent art-making has focused on nature in the form of landscaping. Pallavi on Instagram.

If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And of course if you’re not already a Patreon supporter I hope you’ll check it out at Patreon.com/NoahScalin.

Veda's 365 Days of Butterflies

Veda Aprile in Oakville, Ontario, Canada is creating 365 Days of Butterflies...

 

Why did you decide to do this project? I had been following the progress of my friend Lilian #lilsheart on instagram for awhile which put the bug in my ear, then when I retired Lilian gave me Noah's book as a gift.  I was pretty excited as i had been itching to do the project just from following my friend. I chose butterflies to represent the changes that were happening in my life (retirement) and wanted to concentrate on the positive changes and growth I knew I would be experiencing in this new life of freedom from 'work.'  Also I wanted to pick a subject I knew I would enjoy painting or drawing.  I added the gratitude portion to the project on day one, when I thanked my friend for the book, at which point i thought what a good idea to keep me grateful over the course of a year.


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I think this was the perfect time to start a project like this for me, it has given me something to think on every day which helped with my transition of working full days to no work days. 

I am now finding the time to do creative things I may not have attempted. For example on day 2 my butterfly cat- I learned how to use a draw tablet from my daughter.  It's interesting to note that at the beginning of the day when I read the suggestion and maybe I am at a loss of what to do, I now know if I just think on the idea for a bit something will come to me. 

I am also noticing my first attempt is a stepping stone to my final project. I have been keeping some of my original ideas to compare ie my favorite piece to date is my tea cup collection. When I first put the cups out it felt lacking - I left it on the table for a bit and out of the blue I thought 'sugar!' and that little touch just elevated the design to me. This has been happening over and over again.

  

I am enjoying the input from my friends as well, not only are they appreciative, they have been giving me all sorts of ideas and sending me butterfly pictures and messages. 

It was also rewarding for me to have another friend start the 365 day challenge after me with water as her subject. Now i feel like I am part of an exciting team of creativity and I am hoping to encourage more people to join the bandwagon.

See all of Veda's butterflies on Instagram and on Facebook.

 

Foreground/Background podcast episode 4: Matt Bilfield

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast, about the day to day aspects of making a living as an artist, is out now! Take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every episode when it comes out.



Matt Bilfield is a self-described fastidious minimalist, Matt is an LA based artist who combines pointillism with wood dowels to create dynamic, dimensional images. His work has been internationally showcased in multiple galleries and when he’s not fitting round pegs into round holes he makes on-air television graphics.

In this conversation we discuss:
  • Self-taught skills
  • Contracts
  • Cultivating gallery, collector, and customer relationships
  • Shifts in social media
  • Selling art
  • Artist personas
  • and more!
If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And of course if you’re not already a Patreon supporter I hope you’ll check it out at Patreon.com/NoahScalin.

Foreground/Background podcast episode 3: Eva Rocha

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast, about the day to day aspects of making a living as an artist, is out now! Take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every episode when it comes out.


Eva Rocha is a multimedia artist from Brazil who’s studied Theater, Cultural Studies, and Fine Art. she has an MFA in Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been shown in museums internationally including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Eva also happens to be my neighbor!

In this hour long conversation we discuss:
  • Success and stability
  • Education
  • What makes an artist
  • Political art
  • Grants
  • Art Collectors
  • Art Museums
  • and more!
If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And of course if you’re not already a Patreon supporter I hope you’ll check it out at Patreon.com/NoahScalin.

Foreground/Background podcast episode 2: George Ferrandi

The latest episode of my Foreground/Background podcast, about the day to day aspects of making a living as an artist, is out now! Take a listen below and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to get every episode when it comes out.



George Ferrandi is a Brooklyn based artist whose performative work focuses on experimental approaches to human imperfections. George currently teaches Sculpture and Performance Art at Pratt Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as at the Rhode Island School of Design and runs a small business which specializes in restoring statues at churches.

In this hour long conversation we discuss:
  • The artist's education
  • Making a living 
  • Definitions of success
  • Priorities and balance
  • Selling art
  • Career opportunities
  • Grants
  • and more!

If you enjoyed this podcast please leave a comment and let me know what resonates with you and give it a thumbs up or 5 star review wherever you listen to it. And of course if you’re not already a Patreon supporter I hope you’ll check it out at Patreon.com/NoahScalin.

Flowers and Faces

Jessica Mack (aka BrownPaperBunny) from Seattle, WA is drawing / painting a flower or a face every day, in any medium, on any surface available for her project Flowers and Faces...


Why did you decide to do this project? Drawing and painting flowers and faces is something I enjoy but also something I want to improve, so I’m setting out to draw a flower or face every day.














How has doing a yearlong / daily project affected your life? It has become a habit now, and I start to feel ‘the itch’ if I miss a day because I’m traveling or sick etc. It has also become a little piece of my day that is just for me, which has done wonders for my stress levels. I’d even go so far as to say I’m sleeping better at night because of my daily creative habit.

See all of Jessica's project on Instagram at @100daysofflowersandfaces.





Heart of the Day

Anette Bäck of Skövde, Sweden is creating one heart daily in 2019 for her project Heart of the Day...


Why did you decide to do this project? A few years ago I got the book 365: A Daily Creative Journal by Noah Scalin from a dear friend. A perfect opportunity for me to challenge my creativity. In my professional life I am the head of an IT department, which is a fulfilling and challenging job in many ways and I think I'm pretty good at it. But it isn't the most creative job.


I wanted to start the project on January 1st. But... for several years I had forgotten it, but not this year. This year I started my project. I am going to continue as long as it is challenging and fun. Hopefully I will reach the finish line at December 31st. But if the "want feeling" is replaced with a "must feeling" I have promised myself to change the plan. I don't need any more musts in my life!

I chose hearts as my project for two reasons:
1. It's quite a simple shape
2. I associate it with positive feeling and hope that it will help me carry on if (or rather when) the inspiration comes. 

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I have just started my project and so far I have learned that I can't bring myself to destroy books. This project is also teaching me to settle with "good enough". Normally, I am kind of a "good girl type" that always wants to do the best (preferably to perfection), but the time restraint when creating one heart every day while working and taking care of everyday stuff doesn’t leave room for perfection. It is a really valuable experience for me.See all of Anette's project on Instagram at @heartoftheday and on her site HERE



































365 Days: In the Mourning

Regina Wahl in Osnabrueck, Germany is creating daily as a way to think about grief and loss in her project 365 Days: In the Mourning...




Why did you decide to do this project? It was the final day of my second Creative Sprint in October 2017. This time, I stayed relaxed and optimistic throughout the whole challenge. And this gave me the courage to do a yearlong project inspired by Noah Scalin's book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal.

People who know me weren't surprised when they heard about the theme I chose for my project. Last year I saw a printed shirt with this sentence on it: I am a mourning person. This is so right! I am a mourning person (to be honest I think everyone is). I think I always was. I cannot count the things, places, dreams and of course people that I lost in my life so far. And since I was a young girl I am interested in death and grief and their effects on people and relationships and systems. I know, this sometimes seems like a very scientific view...this is a part of my coping strategy I think: Trying to understand the incomprehensible, trying to stay in control,...all these things.

However, I always tried to not stay detached but to get closer to my own grief and to the grief of others. Two years ago I became a qualified grief counselor. I am a hospice volunteer. I made a lot of good and appreciative friends in the field of grief counseling and hospice care. It is a very supporting and caring community (like the Creative Sprinters!). I am very grateful to get to know a lot of wonderful people coping with loss. And if there is one thing I learned in recent years: Mourning and grieving and coping with loss is an art itself and we are all raw beginners...

This is my way to learn something about life. This is my way to live one year with eyes and arms and heart wide open.




How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  I learned a lot of things during the last months. The most important thing I learned is: There is always an idea! I feel very confident for the last couple of months that good ideas are always on hand. So far I never panicked that I can´t find anything to do.

At the beginning of this journey, I thought I´ll stick to the daily inspirations in the book for a while, see where it leads me from there and maybe work on my own prompts. But after a few weeks I learned to enjoy the daily prompts from Noah's book as what they are: on the one hand I don´t have to think about a new technique or material to work with every day. On the other hand, I am forced to leave my comfort zone and try new things – which I probably wouldn't do that often if I would have to think about something on my own (I would probably paint with water colour or pencils every day ;-)

That said, I really try to not be super rational about the prompts and projects and to avoid planning the prompts in advance (which is really hard, I love making lists and staying in control): Head AND heart AND hands and all that. But sometimes I concede myself a day of rationalizing and working with techniques and materials I am comfortable with – it´s all about balance, right?

I also learned to not have to be 100% satisfied with the outcome to post a picture of my art. I like that there is always the next day to make something better or more pointed or wittier… And that my English in the caption of a picture doesn´t have to be perfect to be understood.

During the last months I also became more courageous: Not only in terms of techniques, but also about the themes of my daily projects: Grief and death is not nice and proper and I feel it is quite liberating to share my rage and the ugly or tabooed things, too.




Well, and sometimes it is hard: The people close to me (my family and close friends) read and look at the things I do every day. And my grief is often their grief (I lost my grandparents, my parents lost their mums and dads…), which sometimes makes it very difficult for me to express what I feel: I know when they see my project, it makes them sad, too. But it is also a new way to talk about our grief! One day I draw a picture of my great aunt with soap on the mirror and captured it with “I am thinking of her so often these days!” and when my mum saw the picture, she told me: “I am also thinking a lot about her lately - I didn't know it is the same for you!”




Finally I want to share, that currently I enjoy doing the daily projects just for me. And this took me and everyone else by surprise. When I first started the “365 Days: In the Mourning”-Project my friends and family asked me: “Are you going to collaborate with others?”, “Are you going to involve people?”, “Are you planning an exhibition at the end of it?”,… And I was sure, I would do that, being sometimes very driven and a real limelight hog when it comes to doing the things I like to do and talking about the topics I am interested in. But up to today I have no need to show my art on a grand scale or to go public…And I think part of it is, that I stopped demanding such high standards of myself, which is great progress for me and took all pressure off. However, let´s see where this leads to and what other surprises are around the corner!

See all of Regina's project on Instagram at @365.days.in.the.mourning and on her site HERE.


Melody Thinks She Can Pull This Off


Melody Reed in Columbus, Ohio, created for over a year inspired by 365: A Daily Creativity Journal... 


Why did you decide to do this project? In October 2016, I attempted the Creative Sprint challenge. It started more out of boredom than anything. A friend posted she was going to participate, and on a whim, I joined up. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I also tend to be fairly optimistic, so I figured I could keep up.

That led me to purchasing the book, 365 A Daily Creativity Journal and I decided I could totally keep up with it. I really liked taking the few minutes each day and making something.

Reading the introduction in the book led me to think of a way to organize my masterpieces. What can I stick with? I get bored fairly easily. (Oh look, a squirrel!) That's part of this challenge for me. Commit, stick with it. Commit, stick with it. "Lather, rinse, repeat and lather, rinse, repeat and lather, rinse, repeat. As needed." My gut instinct was to give myself a different subject or medium each week or month. That way I explore and try different ways of messing with it without feeling like I'm tied to it. 

I work in arts administration and I surround myself with creative people day in and day out. I'm energized by them. I do their admin, because I don't have their passion and, quite frankly, they suck at the mundane. In return, I key to feed off their excitement about their art. But in this small way, I feel like I was for once not just feeding off, but adding to the creativity all around me.

I also wanted to set a good example for my kids. They all like to color and draw and build with blocks. Every now and again, they'll get down on themselves. Especially at school, they'll see what someone else does and think theirs isn't good enough. I want to show them that it doesn't matter what you make or how well you do it, but that you made it, and it was yours. This project helped me do that.


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? ​I think I knew going in that there would be days it just wouldn't happen. And I was right. I forgave myself when I missed or skipped a day here and there. Some days, I just couldn't find a way to tie in the prompt to my theme. Other days I just couldn't find the time to take that few minutes. Still others, I couldn't spare the brain power. But I decided I would keep track of all of them and swing back around later so that I still made 365 prompts.

I took October off completely. I started a new job and something had to give. The couple prompts I churned out weren't much to speak of. I was feeling kind of drained. When I came back in November, I was definitely recharged and I started enjoying it again.

​More than anything, making the concerted effort to spend a few minutes each day doing something just for me has been therapeutic. I like sharing the prompts and getting comments from my friends (whom I think I've surprised by my actually sticking to it).

To finish out the project, I've decided to return to my favorite medium. Writing haiku has always been a joke with my 4 closest friends, so it makes sense I'd enjoy it the most, but it's also where I feel a comfort. I like that there are strict rules to follow and you have to work to use just the right words. Hopefully I'll carry that need to use the right words into other aspects of my life too.

See all of Melody's 365 project HERE.