How does inspiration come to artists?

Sameland by Dawn Yoshimura

I wanted to write a post reflecting upon conversations in the past year or so with other artists. Many assume that artists are all visually stimulated but I’ve found that not all of us find our inspiration in the same sensory way.

I am auditory–which is why mo’olelo or story is so important to me in creating and processing my world. I talk to myself. I don’t like to listen to music while painting–it disturbs me. But as artists, we are connected to our intuition and feelings so I observed recently that I like to take in things audibly–birdsong, the wind, waves, leaves rustling, a story someone tells me or I tell myself and it settles in my piko–my hara–my center and gut feeling. It goes in as sound, lands in my gut and comes out visually in my case. While on a painting trip in Norway, I experienced synesthesia when I see sounds and it was a transformative experience.

Other artist friends tell me how they are visual and how music will enhance and inspire them. While I listened, I realised I absolutely hate noise if I am trying to paint, write, sew, read, watch a movie, etc. But it comes down to what that artist needs as stimulatory input, how we process and anchor it and express it as creative output.

I’m curious if you have noticed your flow: do you intake visual impressions first? Taste? Feel? Smell? Hearing? and where is your anchor for your intuition? Mine is my stomach, but others tell me they feel it in other parts of their body or psyche. They may hear a voice that anchors it for them. Isn’t it wonderful how we are all hardwired uniquely in how we create?

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