Whatever their cultural background or experiences, artists have a compelling need to express their unique vision. It is always fascinating to learn what inspires them to translate an abstract idea into a tangible form.
When we learn about the driving forces behind artists’ creative impulses, whether it is philosophies, cultural influences or their fascinations with materials and media, we learn more about how the mysterious artistic process begins and unfolds. Ultimately, we derive a wealth of meaning about them and ourselves.
Here’s what four artists had to say about their sources of inspiration:
Cherilyn SunRidge – Energy Studies, The Remote Wilderness and The Sacred Hoop Mandala
Cherilyn SunRidge is an artist who lives in Oregon City, Oregon. Her lineage is Swedish, Irish and Comanche. She has worked in southeast Alaska, lived in the Rocky Mountains, and traveled from the Midwest to the Western coast.
SunRidge’s acrylic paintings, which she calls “nature-spirit-art,” are imbued with her extensive training in energy studies, including yoga, sacred dance and bodywork, body-energy systems, sensory re-patterning, non-culturally-specific shamanic spiritual healing, as well as decades of geologic fieldwork in the remote wilderness.
Her message is profound yet universal: “We must each hold a personal sacred hoop in our hearts, and we must each cultivate our light-filled relationships in any arenas which beckon us. We must live like we matter, and my nature-spirit-art is a daily reminder of that.”
Lola Lonli – Music, Ancient Legends and Dreams
She enjoys listening to jazz, blues and classical music.
“I have not worked out a single painting without listening to music. It helps me to achieve creative meditation,” Lonli said. “So I choose the music according to subject and energetic content of the particular painting.”
Her inspirational art works come to fruition when she is in deep concentration. Her art seems to automatically flow through her onto the canvas. “I take subjects for my paintings from ancient legends, real life and my dreams,” Lonli said.
She also enjoys providing viewers with different interpretations of her art. Her art uses florescent pigments that are dramatically altered under different lighting conditions, creating a variety of changing moods for herself and viewers of her art.
Matti Sirvio – International Languages, Cultures and Symbols
Matti Sirvio was born in Sotkamo, Finland, and currently lives in Muscat, Oman. He has lived in Sweden, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and more recently, Istanbul. He has also exhibited in many countries around the world. He is fluent in many languages including his native Finnish, as well as English, German, Russian, Turkish and Hungarian. He is currently adding Arabic to that list.
Sirvio brings his worldly views to communicate a universal, visual language that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.
“I want people to see the unseen world through my art, a view beyond time into eternity,” Sirvio said. “I see symbols all around me as I move through life. Are they ordinary things? Or can we look together beyond the facade of everyday life and physical existence and see more deeply — the picture beyond the picture?”
Marnie J. Blum – Intuition, A Range of Media and Human Similarities
Marnie J. Blum was born in California and now lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. Blum works primarily in water-based media, which consists of acrylics, inks and water-soluble crayons. She also incorporates clay, fibers, paper and writings into her artwork.
“I believe tapping into other media adds to the dimension of my work. Each piece begins with a strong personal connection to a short phrase, song lyric or idea that matures into a deeper ‘story’ in my imagination,” Blum said. “Being connected to this story is essential for me to breath life into the work. Each of my pieces becomes richer, deeper and more complex by layering brightly colored water-based paints and inks, collaged images and papers and the written word.
“My pictorial stories become universal — transcending gender, age and ethnicity — through abstraction and symbolism. I often incorporate silhouettes to focus on human similarities rather than individual differences.”
Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, helps artists attain their highest potential through personalized consultations, coaching, articles and free email newsletter on Renee-Phillips.com. She is founder of Manhattan Arts International, where she features articles about art and artists and runs a curated Featured Artists Program to reward artistic excellence.