When I found out January 31 was dubbed National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, I really started to reflect on all the things that have pushed me into the world of graphic design. This meditation brought forth the source that nudged me toward my initial desire for the world of art: my father.
He is the foundation of my artistry. When I was very young, he put a pencil in my hand and began to teach me how to draw. By the time I became a teenager I was able to almost identically reproduce a photo of a person’s portrait. My father recognized that I was a slight introvert, and used art to encourage me to express myself in a medium that required no spoken words. This familial starting point, paired with my strong desire to create and fascination with imagery, led me to learn how to communicate through many art forms such as drawing, painting, photography, video, music, and graphic design.
In middle school and high school, because of the unbearably long bus ride home, I often got dropped off at the local Kmart where my mom worked. I didn’t realize it until my recent reflection, but it was within those white walls and aisles where I started to think about what I wanted my career to be. Every day, I would head straight to the magazines and flip through them for hours at a time. I know it’s thought to be frowned upon, but there I was, literally judging books (or publications) by their cover.
I remember one afternoon, while reading Thrasher (which to this day is my favorite skateboarding magazine), saying to myself how cool it would be to be a photographer or designer for some of these magazines. This early curiosity led to some inspired creations – and if you fast-forward to today, my designs and photography have been featured in multiple magazines and several other mediums. Life is awesome! Yet, there are times where a dullness creeps over me, blocking my creative brain from functioning.
When I’m feeling less than motivated in my work as a graphic designer, I find that I need to take a dip into my personal form of creativity. This means that I need to stretch, sip on my spirit of choice (plain black coffee), and get inspired. I do this by spending time with some of my favorite artists, old and new. In no time, I’m pulled out of a funk and ready to generate new ideas. Some of my favorite sources of inspiration include Aaron Draplin, Rankin, Paul Rand, and Stefan Sagmeister. Sometimes just looking at how some of the greats approach design will reveal problem-solving methods that can be applied to the work we all do.
That is what makes art so powerful – it can summon creative thinking, alter emotions, shape opinions, express love, protest politics, and do so much more. I’m a firm believer of the old adage “you get out what you put in.” I want to create great art so I surround myself with what I consider to be great art. This way I continue to stay inspired and stay up to date on current trends in culture, in order to help maximize interactivity among the intended audience. So if you ask me what’s the key to success, I’d say it’s being open to inspiration. Inspiration leads to curiosity, and curiosity leads to breakthroughs.
That’s how art inspires MY heart.