How do you come up with ideas for your work?

I often get asked how I come up with the ideas for my work.

For me it’s lots of observation, questions, thinking, connection – often connecting two unrelated ideas…One thing I do know, is that the hours and years of driving my son to school and work, and after school activities was the perfect time to allow my mind to wander and make these weird connections. The twice weekly drive to swimming lessons past a construction site had me thinking about how the Hi Vis clothing worn by the workers was so faded and dirty I failed to see how it was serving its intended safety purpose. I then started to see Hi Vis clothing worn everywhere… “Is Hi Vis the new black”? became the idea for Fire Flies.

Fire Flies

That drive time gave me regular daydreaming time, a good 20 minutes or more several times per day. Ideas developed, works became resolved. Something you can’t necessarily do in the studio or at a computer. Now that it’s no longer part of my daily routine, I realise how valuable that time was.I read this quote from author of Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury last week thanks to Austin Kleon, and I think it sums up how we get our own unique ideas/slant for our work (whatever field you work in):

Three things are in your head: First, everything you have experienced from the day of your birth until right now. Every single second, every single hour, every single day. Then, how you reacted to those events in the minute of their happening, whether they were disastrous or joyful. Those are two things you have in your mind to give you material. Then, separate from the living experiences are all the art experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve learned from other writers, artists, poets, film directors, and composers…

I would add here, all the things you have learned from others in any areas, not just art experiences.

He goes on to say…

All these things are very personal… You can’t write for other people. You can’t write for the left or the right, this religion or that religion, or this belief or that belief. You have to write the way you see things.The above images are details of the back and front of my current work in progress.




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