Written by Prerna Gupta
In a Listen, Watch & Read Format
Creative pursuits, while immensely fulfilling, can come with their own set of challenges. One day you’ll be feverishly working away on your painting or musical composition, and the next day your ideas will dry up like a pond in the Indian summer. Every artist has had such days (maybe even weeks) and instead of feeling down about them, one can spend this time in quiet reflection and rejuvenation of the creative spirit to come back to work raring to go.
Picture Source and Credits: Jarom Vogel
There are several things we turn to when our creativity needs a boost and here are some of our favourite ones.
Picture Credits and Source : Dribble via Pinterest
- The Lonely Palette
If you didn’t pursue a formal course in art/design, chances are that your knowledge of art history is very limited. But knowing more about the history of some of the most famous pieces of art across the world has been a fantastic creative boost for us, especially when it comes packaged in engrossing 20-minute episodes.
Art history can feel daunting but The Lonely Palette delivers it in a style that is tailor made for everyone. As their Instagram bio says, it is “the podcast that returns art history to the masses one painting, sculpture, photograph and urinal at a time”. Why the urinal? Listen to them to find out!
-Artists Helping Artists
Finding yourself in a jam and looking for some advice? Turn to Artists Helping Artists, the hit podcast by Leslie Saeta who is herself a successful artist, so she knows what she is talking about. We love listening to this podcast especially because it tackles both the practical aspects of being an artist (selling your art online, pricing your work) as well as the mental struggles one faces when navigating a creative career (How to Get Past The Fear of Failure, Why Every Artist Needs to Take Risks for Growth).
In the recent past, we’ve discovered some excellent Indian podcasts and one that we thoroughly enjoy is The Passion People Podcast. Each episode is like a jolt of inspiration because of the stories of people who have pursued their passions so dedicatedly. In the course of two seasons, the podcast has brought to us impromptu conversations with writers, artists, dancers, farmers, cyclists, mountaineers and more.
Hosted by Kedar Nimkar, Audiogyan is a weekly podcast bringing us “insightful conversations with luminaries of the creative world”. What stands out about this podcast is the sheer variety of people they have spoken to - from historians and academics to puppeteers and toy designers.
We’re big on history + art so we’ll recommend Manu Pillai’s interview on “Knowing Raja Ravi Varma’s human side” as a great way to dip your toes into this podcast.
Elizabeth Gilbert talks like she writes - from personal experiences and in a way that instantly feels relatable to audiences and readers alike. In this moving TED Talk, she shares how she has successfully distanced herself from the widely accepted idea that creative genius and mental suffering are inextricably linked together. Without giving too much away, we’ll just say that this talk is a must-watch for all creative people and we’ve ourselves turned to it time and again for some much-needed perspective.
Many artists and creatives talk about their creative inspiration but not many really happen to share the HOW of creative inspiration. In this talk by Victor Shamas, a psychologist researching creativity, wisdom and intuition, he shares a pair of practical tools to bring yourself to the state where creative inspiration can come to you. That might sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, but what he offers are very simple steps that you can include in your daily routine. Do try!
- The Creative Indians
In a similar vein to The Passion People Project, this TV docu-series speaks to some of the most well-known creative people from India - Anita Dongre, Sam Kulavoor, AR Rahman and more. Knowing about how these successful people got to where they are today, their struggles, their inspirations, their routines is all immensely inspiring for anyone at the beginning of their creative journeys.
You can watch Season 3 of the show on Netflix and the episodes before that on their YouTube channel.
This sentence from the book is probably the one that says most about this work and why you should read it: “You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself”.
Way too many of us give up on our creative selves because we buy into the idea that the only successful artists are the ones with some inherent “talent” or “genius”. Kleon on the other hand talks about how there is no artist whose work is completely original and that all artists have been influenced by other creatives. But that’s not all - he also talks about how to take inspiration from other artists the right way.
P.S. - Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter - a roundup of 10 things he finds interesting that week - makes for a great read with your morning cuppa!
- Brain Pickings by Maria Popova
If you are not following Brain Pickings, we would go so far as to say that you are missing out on something truly joyful and valuable. As the website’s ‘About’ section puts it, Brain Pickings is the author Maria Popova’s “one-woman labor of love exploring what it means to live a decent, substantive, rewarding life”.
The website offers excerpts and musings from writings across a variety of fields such as arts, science and literature. Such articles might have been heavy reading if not for the beautiful and meaningful illustrations that accompany them.
While each article on the website, in our opinion, will appeal to a different side of you, do check out the articles focusing on creativity and inspiration.
- Might Could Essays
We came across Christine Nishiyama’s work when we were looking for some illustration challenges and honestly, we’ve stayed for her weekly essays. What we like best about Christine is her philosophy that anyone can be an artist and that trickles down into her writing as well.
Her essays are mostly about the trials and joys of being an artist and every essay is accompanied by her expressive illustrations. We love how she often dissects an idea, much like a scientist would, to get at its root.
If you’ve been struggling with finding time for your art, this essay by Christine is a great place to start.
Drop us a line with your thoughts if you’ve checked out any of these. Have something interesting to add to the list, good inspiration that came to you or something you made that we might like? Do share the joy with us!