May 20, 2010

Where inspiration comes from...

I am often asked where I get my inspiration. Now may be a great time to answer this, especially in light of ongoing comments made by a fellow artist, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Nelson recently at an art gallery where she had a show near my hometown. I was excited to see her work and when I did it was confirmed that she is a fine artist. For those of you who are not familiar with her work, here is a link.
I was happy to see Elizabeth’s work up close and personal because it allowed me to have first hand knowledge that our style of artistry is very different. While her work has more of an oil painting look and feel to it, mine on the other hand has a lighter, softer feel, much like watercolors. She has not seen mine personally and therefore is unaware of the differences that actually exist in techniques.

Other links of inspiring artists that are doing amazing torn paper art can be found by visiting this website. It is simply the most impressive work by an artist in France named Anastassia Elias. Another inspiration to me is Bob Kilvert whose work you can see here.

In addition, take a look at the book called "creative collage techniques" by another inspiring artist doing her variation, Nita Leland. You'll see a beautiful rooster on the cover done in the torn paper style. This book came out in 2000 and is well worth a look.
Eileen Downes is another amazing artist who has done fruits, florals, and even shoes.
Even earlier is children's book illustrator Eric Carle. You may remember the book the hungry caterpillar? That was done in torn paper style as well.
There are other blogs, one called "torn paper art" where a beautiful beach scene is posted.

I wonder if Elizabeth looks to these great artists for inspiration too? I see her work has similar themes running through them.
I am not sure why Elizabeth is posting comments of accusations that I am copying "her" work. As you can see, there is a long history of many artists doing this style of art proving that she has not invented this technique nor does she have ownership of the subject matter of cupcakes, animals, beach scenes, etc. These are simply favorite subject matters of many talented artists. I have not only used these subjects but also many others.

I know I gain endless motivation and inspiration from my vast collection of art books and artists' dvds I have purchased over the years. I find, as anyone can attest to, there is nothing "new", just simply a different spin. I love seeing how there are so many amazing and talented artists out there doing this torn paper art. It reaches so far back that it's doubtful anyone can say where it really started. I believe that this technique may have roots in mosaics. I know mosaics are typically done with bits of glass or tile, etc...torn paper paintings are simply done with bits of paper.
I enjoy seeing what other artists create and I hope you do as well. I guess the short answer is that there is no one moment or thing to answer the question, "what inspires you" because I think the answer is "everything" throughout my life.
Please visit the links I have provided to find inspiration, too.


Sarah said...

You know what my inspiration is? YOU mom :)

roc said...

it's great how inspiration can be found in so many places. i loved looking at all the links you provided. fabulous work!

Alison said...

Nice post... and great links. All very inspiring. Love the work by the artist in France! And yes, Eric Carle has been around forever.
I enjoy your work and don’t worry about anyone else. Artists should
be supportive of each other. Remember…it is a person’s own insecurity that makes them behave badly. Takes a big ego to think that someone’s sole inspiration comes from only them when there are clearly so many great sources of inspiration out there!

WW said...

Thank you. It is unfortunate. After doing my work for a couple of years now....well....I can only hope she finds whatever is really troubling her.
Glad you enjoyed all the lovely inspiring links. I know they have been special to me. There are so many more out there if you google them. Enjoy!

WW said...

I'd like to take a moment to apologize to some of my friends who have received some unsolicited Spam email from this lady.

It is quite unfair to all of you.
Please feel free to report it.

Susan said...

I have been following the spat between Nelson and you.

I also have been testing the waters with paper collage, but I believe where she is somewhat bothered by your work is the subject matter. Not sure who created the art first, but she has a cow, and you have a cow. She has cupcakes and so do you.

I for one can see that this would bother me. They are very much alike. And yes I know there are differences.

I for one do not paint the paper, I am using inks or the actual color of the paper. I have also tried the citrasolv on papers. I find these techniques refreshing instead of doing it like Ms. Nelson.

Your work is nice.

WW said...

I appreciate your thoughts.
I personally have no spat with Ms Nelson. She and I had spoken a few times in the past via email. All was fine. I introduced myself to her recently at a show nearby. Again, all was fine. I am not at all sure why she suddenly chose to create the post she did on her blog.
The subjects you mention have been around forever. Neither she nor I were the first to use them.

I personally have been doing cupcakes in one medium or another for many years. As for the cow…I live in rural New England, and as anyone here can tell you, they are a natural favorite of local artists. I created my cow over a year ago for a specific local art show as a bit of fun being poked at the vast amount of cow art they show each year. Who would have thought that all this time later, one cow for one show would cause such a stir. Seems pretty silly to me.

As to the difference in our work…I’m glad you could see that. Yes. They are very different.
One big reason I went to see the local show Ms Nelson was in was to be able to finally look at her work up close and to know for myself that our styles were nothing alike. In person, it is even more evident.

I’m glad to hear you are trying your hand at the collage. I’m quite sure you will enjoy it. Please don’t go into it already thinking you would be bothered by finding you are not the only artist creating certain subjects. None of us are…or ever will be.
If we had to find all the artist working in a certain medium and run through the entire list of all the subjects that every one of them have already touched on….none of us would ever be able to create again!
Just do whatever it is you love and feel confident in that.
Your techniques sound interesting and I hope sometime we are lucky enough to see your work as well. Much luck to you!

Nancy Standlee said...

One quote from a artist I've taken many workshops from, Robert Burridge, "It's all been done before, but not by you." I've taken workshops from paper collage artists, Gerald Brommer, Carrie Burns Brown, Anne Bagby, and Nita Leland. They all work in a similar manner but their distinctive style can still be seen. Because I've taken a Cheng Kee Chee and have lots of Koi photos I'll probably do a koi.

WW said...

Thanks for the quote. How true it is.
It's great you have gotten to take so many classes. I haven't yet gotten to take anyone's class. I just seem to do whatever comes naturally. Sometimes it works..sometimes
Good luck with your koi. I'd love to see it when it's done!