When I think about creating, I think about something becoming that which at one point did not exist. I think about how a thought as a spark grows into a flame of wonder and where the imagined intersects with the tangible. There is so much to celebrate about the artist when we experience their art. There’s emotion and vulnerability and nakedness that comes alongside the beauty of art, and these bold decisions to open up personally to the world is extraordinary. With all of that in mind, I want to say as an artist to an artist, what we create is not our own. I say this for a few reasons, and none of them are to take away the importance or the value of creating.
A simple point to make is the truth that every creative has at least one conscious inspiration behind what they do. It might be someone as close as a parent or as far away as Bach, or even David from the scriptures. That in itself points that our creation is much less original than we might think. I wrote a song at one point with my brother. (I wrote the lyrics and melody after he presented a riff he was working on on his guitar.) I loved the song, and still do love it, although we later realized that my brother’s recent experience of watching the disney movie Moahna highly influenced him; so much so that you could loosely fit the lyrics to the one song from the movie into our song. Nevertheless, amidst a disney melody is now embedded a song that reminds me to continue to take “one step more” in the times I feel empty and when my longing is overshadowed by depression or anxiety.
Now as a Christian, I find the inspiration from God to be one of the most overt influences, it also holds so much mystery and intrigue. I’m not typically one to write worship songs or to look to try and fit scripture into the things I write, but the word of God is so full of wisdom and truth, I’m so often inspired through God’s word. Deeper than a direct quote or phrase, I feel as though it almost has to show up through the way I personally think and present, because it has shaped my entire being. Beyond the tangible and experienced, the Holy Spirit works within our conscience and thoughts to bring revelation for specific things at specific times. And isn’t inspiration from God himself enough to satisfy our creative longings? I believe so, but I find the influences from our community around us is one of the most practical and most overlooked contributors to our art.
Creative influences around us push us deeper into our craft, and having those types of people in your circle is so crucial. They understand the struggle of being and feeling misunderstood. They know the draw that discontentment produces that leads you to create something that hasn’t been created before. It’s beautiful, but in the same breath, there is value your other friends bring to your artistic expression. These friends aren’t motivated by trying to curate. They might be motivated by feelings and emotions, by numbers and figures, by cause and effect, by theory or philosophy or simply by experiencing something beautiful. They do life and say ordinary things, but aren’t the most mundane and ordinary things the things that inspire us most?
Life with people who aren’t artists help us make connections that are deep and real and honest; things that aren’t lofty and regurgitated, but fresh. We take what we see in normal life and translate it into art. We need creatives around us to push us and inspire us and other types of people to embellish and enhance not only our art, but our lives. People that live well create well.
The things we create are not our own, and I thank God for it! Next time you need inspiration, you might not need to sit down with your computer straight away. Remember that it’s natural and beautiful to draw from what’s around you.
Draw from the stream that washes out your driveway when it rains. Draw from your grandma’s shaky voice and timeless stories that might be more fiction than reality at this point. Draw from your best friend’s kindness when they sit with you, even though your chest is so tight you can’t say a word; when the tears are all that come. Draw from the psalmist’s words that are as relevant today as they were all those years ago. Draw from the song that sends chills down your spine and sends electricity to the tips of each finger and each toe.
Draw from rest, from the softness of your pillow. Draw from passion, when a kiss lights up your world. Draw from joy, when you hold a newborn baby and their smell and touch reminds you that love can truly be unconditional. Draw from truth, when the words of scripture or advice from a friend bring you back to sanity. Do not be an island unto yourself, and let your humility flourish. What you bring and how you interpret life is unique and worth it and necessary, but the pressure will be off to “do”, and you will begin to “be”; to be the creative God created you to be.
Join our Family of Supporters!
We want our relationships with our regular supporters to be personal and special. As we are cultivating this community and family we want you generous givers to be a part of it! Click below to find out what our current and new regular supporters can be expecting as they are welcomed into the Beth-Biri family of supporters –>