OSP: Where Does Inspiration Come From?

I read about art and other things often, as well as, discuss art making with friends. The reading and discussions are usually what inspires my artwork and it is a major influence in this blog. Reading pushes my thinking and processes in new directions. I enjoy thinking about what I read, in my mind there is always a dialog. I thought I would share that dialog with you here.

Downtown Traces, 2016

One thing that is always of interest when looking at art, is the viewer questioning where the artists inspiration came from. While in school I was always curious about where my fellow classmates genius came from. I get much of my own creativity from reading art history and art theory. Recently, I have gotten ideas from my surroundings in India. I found my world in Texas not to be very exciting, so I looked to books for captivating subjects. In India I am in a much more compelling world, thus I have also pulled a lot of my insight from everything one must deal with when moving half a world away. I find it interesting that after all this time the place I get my inspiration from has changed. So, I thought I would ask another artist where their inspiration came from. Arthur Fields is a photographer from Texas, however, he teaches at Vincennes University in Indiana.

What inspires my work?

I tell my students to shoot what they know! The best images come from genuine experiences. So, I strive to shoot from my personal everyday life experiences. All my current projects grew from my attempts to visually document day-to- day experiences that I initially thought were unique to a transplanted Texan in the Midwest, but quickly realize are universal experiences that just occur in a different setting.

The artist statement for Arthur’s most recent project Across the Tracks

Across the Tracks is a serene, and sometimes surreal exploration of everyday architecture and landscapes in and around Vincennes, Indiana.

I have been a resident of Vincennes, Indiana for the last year and have viewed the area with both curiosity and sometimes disbelief. As a photographer, I am curious and try to keep an open mind, but with 82 railroad crossings in town, there is only so much that an outsider living in Knox County can take.

I like my adopted town, people are friendly, farmer’s market is great, festivals are fun and even the Wabash River is beautiful. Still, I remain an outsider fascinated by the many aspects of the landscape that most Vincennes residents would never think twice about. The images here focus on the everyday streetscapes and nature found in Southwest Indiana, seen through the eyes of a displaced Texan.

Arthur’s artist statement for Across the Tracks, directly relates to what he believes makes great art and what he encourages his students to do, to look at their everyday lives. This is something that was taught to me by one of my professors, Rene West. I think it is great advice and a great way to make art. Even when it might not look like someone’s art work comes from their personal experience, many times if you do more research on the artist, you discover that the work does connect. Exploring a new city, you live in is a great way to make art and process your new experiences, as well as, learn the new city.

To explore more of Arthur’s work check out his website, arthurfields.net

Thank you to Arthur Fields for sharing his thoughts and work with us!

I would love to hear in the comments where your inspiration comes from!

If you are a photographer or art historian with an interest in photography and wish to participate in the On the Subjects of Photography post, e-mail me at bnwilliamson.photo@gmail.com

Sun on Scott, 2016

No Service, 2016

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By |2018-10-15T12:16:16-05:00December 11th, 2016|On the Subject of Photography|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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