Quick Q & A: How do you develop your imagination as an artist?

The Quick Q & A editorial in Beautiful Bizarre Magazine is a much loved regular feature, in which we ask 6 artists the same 4 questions. In the December 2019 Issue 27, these were the Quick Q & A questions:

  • What does ‘art’ mean to you?
  • In your experience, what are some of the challenges of being an artist?
  • What does success as an artist look like for you personally?
  • How do you develop your imagination as an artist?

We feel that the artists’ responses provide such a valuable insight for our community of artists that we wanted to share one Quick Q & A response from each issue with you, going forward. The December 2019 Issue 27 print issue is sold out, but you can download the digital magazine via our webstore to read more. To ensure you never miss an issue again, you can also subscribe to Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, and have each issue sent straight to your door each quarter.

Excerpt from Issue 27 // December 2019 Quick Q & A editorial: Artists Happy D, Mary Syring, Junko Mizuno, Meredith Marsone, Gustavo Rimada, and Courtney Brims respond to the below Quick Q & A:

How do you develop your imagination as an artist?

Happy D painting

Happy D

“For me, imagination is developed through looking for the beauty in our everyday lives – in our favourite movies, music, afternoon walks, etc. If we can capture that inspiration, we can build a creative reservoir to feed our imagination later on. I also believe that imagination can be improved upon through practice. I think there’s a misconception that we must wait for inspiration to magically appear and without it we are stuck in artist’s block. But in my experience, the act of working itself creates so many more possibilities for the imagination to kick in. Rather than staring at a blank canvas, if we just start making art and laying down even very basic starting points, we’re giving our imagination opportunities to build from those ideas.”

Mary Syring

“Well I read quite a bit, and I am obsessed with history, travel, folklore, stargazing, the macabre, and horror movies. Partaking in anything of that nature always gets me in a creative mood. Above all I walk constantly. For the last fifteen years I have lived in San Francisco, and it’s a city steeped in Victorian homes on rolling hills, and with a very colourful history. There are ghosts and discoveries around every corner of the city. Strolling through our many neighbourhoods and along the bay always clears the cobwebs for me. Just one whiff of the Barbary Coast’s salty sea air, and images tend to openly float through my consciousness; ready to become my reality.”

Mary Syring  illustration
Junko Mizuno surreal art

Junko Mizuno

“It just develops naturally in my brain – it’s difficult to describe how it happens in words. I was already creating when I was about three, aspiring to become a professional artist, so I’ve been naturally taking in almost everything that surrounds me as an inspiration for my art. For example, when I’m walking, see an old sign of a hair salon and use the same colours in my next painting. I overhear some people talking about their everyday life on the bus and I create some characters in my comic based on them. Or a package design of some medicine at a drugstore becomes the inspiration for my next gig poster. My brain has evolved to work
that way naturally.”

Meredith Marsone

“I don’t like the notion that an artist dreams up their work out of their imagination in isolation. It creates too much pressure to create something never-been- seen-before. When the truth is, our ideas are always an amalgamation of all the things we get exposed to: art, conversations, imagery, people, books, movies, relationships…it all gets churned into a mixi-blob and out pop your art ideas. So the influences can sometimes be seen in an artist’s work and pointed out like it’s some kind of weakness, when in reality that’s the human art making machine in action. It’s important to keep exposing yourself to other art, ideas, and people because they help carry you in new, previously-undreamt-of directions.”

Meredith Marsone painting
Gustavo Rimada skeleton

Gustavo Rimada

“I have to keep an open mind. I don’t shy away from any form of art, I try and take it all in. I think keeping that open mind and taking inspiration from all sorts of different disciplines is key to keeping my creative juices flowing. I will tell you the one thing that I do every day is go for a drive and listen to music. I have my playlists that get my mind going. The genre of music depends on my mood and what kind of demons I need to exorcise, for lack of a better term. And of course studying visual art like paintings, sculptures and conceptual art from some of my favourite artists is definitely a must in feeding my artistic soul.”

Courtney Brims

“I allow myself to be bored! Boredom is so underrated. When you keep feeding your brain external stimuli the creative side starts to get lazy. Often when I get stuck on an idea I sit outside and do nothing. It’s in those states of boredom that my creative brain kicks into gear and suddenly I start to notice things that may have seemed totally insignificant before, like patterns in leaves, or the way birds communicate with one another. I take those observations and start to play around with them. People think I’m slacking off but it’s just part of the creative process. It’s important to give my brain some time off to sort through the creative mess in my head.”

Courtney Brims cat

About Author

Danijela Krha Purssey is an entrepreneur, and the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Australian based international contemporary art magazine, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine. She is deeply passionate and committed to her vision to help shift the paradigm in the global contemporary arts industry regarding what is defined and accepted as contemporary art.


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