In a creative field like design, we face an undeniable truth: our wells of inspiration are bound to run dry from time to time. In those periods of imaginative downtime, we seek out sources that can help us return the creative flow to our working process, and get us “back in the game.” But when we need a quick recharge, where do we turn? Many of us have our favorite “go-to” places when we are victim to creative drought, though perhaps with a little help, our routinely chosen paths could change. Art inspirations can help.
Although they are so different in their purpose, art and design have such a close relationship; extensive discussions, over the years, have tried to figure out what separates these two imaginative fields.
Further Reading on SmashingMag:
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- Pop Art Is Alive: Classics and Modern Artworks
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Today we set that discussion aside and focus on the creative outcomes that have dazzled and inspired, by leading you toward some spectacular sources to get your dose (or two) of inspiration. Hopefully we can point you in the direction of some of inspiring artwork sure to produce enough spark to light anyone’s creative fire. Sit back, and let us act as your tour guide through this artistic recharge.
Art Inspirations with Individual Artist Portfolios
A great tactic on the quest for art-based inspiration is to directly tap into the source. Individual artist portfolios seldom cease to amaze, and plunge you into a flood of new impressions if you’re willing to invest a little time. By observing artworks of individual artists, you can learn new techniques, compare their work to your work and improve your designing skills.
Françoise Nielly’s work is soulful. Her paintings reflect some of the other media that have helped shape her creative voice, and that have led her artistic work to the inspirational heights it has scaled. The vivid use of colors, contrasts and shape make faces look broken, yet perfectly put together, like a mosaic. The emotion carried and transferred by each piece is powerful, and easily conveyed to the viewer.
Natalie Shau’s style is whimsically dark as she digitally takes her imagination and pulls many exciting pieces from it, transforming her vision into an eerie reality. Her work at times can leave you feeling a little uncomfortable, but you are almost guaranteed to develop a sense for her art.
Thomas Schostok is an artist whose body of grungy, collage-style work has been an inspiration to many. His book, Mr. Trash, is a collection featuring his no-holds barred approach to artistic expression that captures his style wonderfully. He is definitely worth looking into, to get your creative flow in motion once again.
Øivind Hovland’s works of art have been published in renowned magazines and in a broad range of other media. His work concentrates on up-to-date topics, as he also illustrates for newspaper articles. If you allow his ironic designs to “get to you,” you just might find the inspiration you were looking for. Øivind’s style is very original: the artists avoid rectangual shapes, traditional shapes and common contrasts. A nice example of how breaking the rules can help artworks stand out.
This young Indonesian artist caught our attention with his complex, abstract compositions. Differing styles, and the varying, vibrant use of colors, make his artwork a refreshing stroll through inspiration. And it is proof, once again, that art does not always have to be viewed in 3D.
Evgeny Kislelev dazzles with his collection of digital art and design. The depth and intricate, abstract nature of the work in his portfolio leaves a lasting impressions, with layer upon layer of colorful, boundless artistic expression partially reminiscent of Southeast Asian batik design, others wholly composed of symmetrical perfection.
Caroline Morin is an illustrator with a knack for capturing the personality of her subjects. Not to mention the seeming ease with which she conveys this instilled quality, to the viewer. Her work is subtle, and the illustrator uses just a couple of colors, yet her portraits nicely depict human soul and mood.
Nata Metlukh’s work spans genres and formats, pulling together some inspiring pieces of art that can offer the fans of dark, vibrant art among us, a healthy dose of inspirational refueling. Her work dances between the dark and the playful sides of the spectrum, and uses various media combined in quite unusual and vivid artworks.
Robert Carter’s life-like renderings truly capture the attitude and emotion of the subject. The satirical connotations of his artwork strongly influence the subjective perception of each piece.
Liza Corbett’s sketchy, imaginative works evoke a child-like sense of innocence while carrying somewhat darker connotations for some, which makes for an immensely powerful body of work. Liza’s art is often abstract and not easy to undestand, and the strong contrast between the theme of her artworks and their “light” drawing nature is remarkable.
Sara Holbert is an artist whose whimsical work embodies a sense of innocence in nature, that pervades so many of our memories from childhood. The artworks are a bit dreamy, a bit cartoonish, and sometimes a bit realistic.
Alex Andreyev’s portfolio weighs heavily on the darker side; his artworks are surreal, concise and thought-provoking. The artists reveals that “by using limited toolset, [he is] able to achieve stylistic consistensy throughout my artwork.” In fact, most artworks focus only on few central elements, leaving the rest in the calm and subtle background tones.
Online Artist Communities
Places definitely worth sourcing for art inspiration are online artist communities. They brim with the artists and with the type of work you can lose yourself in, to refill your inspirational mojo. These community websites are wonderful resource pools that provide you with a slice of the art world, showcasing so many different styles that it is often easy to rekindle your own creative fire.
WetCanvas A large, forum-based community for both traditional and digital artists alike, sharing some truly inspiring work. Browse their link collection for further ideas, or register to fish for fresh input on the theme forum.
FFFFOUND! FFFFOUND! requires an invitation, but that does not mean you cannot browse this inspiration-filled cyber location. Once a member, FFFFOUND! adapts to your needs and taste, proposing styles and art that meet your requirements. Minute-by-minute updates by users around the globe guarantee a never-ending flow of stimuli.
deviantART A lot of people scoff at deviantART, seeing it as the “Myspace” of the art community as it has attracted over 13 million registered users since 2000. But stick to the right categories, keep an eye on some selected artists, and you’re bound to be amazed.
Behance Network One of the largest and most used design communities on the Web. Always a wonderful place to go to get a little inspirational refill.
Artobolus A growing international online artist community. Everyone can share, and search, the extensive art catalog.
ARTST Guild & Gallery Here artists can meet, share work and collaborate. The gallery has over 26,000 artworks, all sorted in various categories and organized alphabetically and by rating.
Often it’s also useful to take the inspirational art search into the physical world by venturing towards some good art magazines and art-oriented publications. Check them out if you are looking to uncover some truly inspiring artwork; this more traditional presentation is preferred by those who still like to hold magazines in their hands.
Juxtapoz Magazine This is one of the most popular monthly art magazines today. Filled with awesome artwork and insightful articles, it is an inspirational powerhouse.
8faces The magazine has one core question at its heart — if you could only use eight typefaces for the rest of your life, which would you choose? — and poses this (and many others) to eight leading designers from the fields of web design, print design, illustration, and of course type design itself. A nice project by Elliot Jay Stocks. Issue 2 is currently available.
Art Nouveau Magazine A quarterly art and culture print publication. Focusing heavily on art and design, avant-garde fashion and an eclectic mix of music, this inspirational magazine offers a little something for everyone.
Bomb Magazine A quarterly art publication that has been around since the ‘80s, evolving artists’ dialog and overall sense of community through in-depth discussions with artists about their work and processes.
Hi-Fructose Magazine Another quarterly art magazine, around since 2005. Founded by artists, this inspiring publication focuses on works that break out of their genre boundaries and reach beyond the trends.
FOUND Magazine An annual publication that takes, and collects, found images and items throughout the year, then puts together each collaborative “artistic slice of life” for the world to see.
Communication Arts A popular arts and culture publication that has been inspiring the masses to swim through their creative pools, and colorful pages, for over 50 years.
Gutter Magazine From the proverbial arts underground, comes this exciting and inspiring magazine full of intriguing and creative works.
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