I’m inspired by this

Once a month, the designers at my work meet up for an hour and a half to talk shop. This month’s homework was to bring along things that inspire us. I don’t have a favourite designer that I look up to. When my head gets in its creative space, it’s more a soup of many things that have stuck with me over the years. My show & tell was the above collage plus explanations:

1. Jason Mraz – I really like this guy. He has some character about him. Chutzpah, I think it’s called. He’s a huge stoner with a lovely voice and guitar touch, and an awesome humour for lyrics. His songs are poetic without being cheesy; they’re a bit smartass, actually. Wouldn’t be surprised if that same humour got him detention or a smack at school. Anyway, I like his music and talent for wordplay, and his general approach to life.

2. and 3. Kevin Cornell does the illustrations for A List Apart (known for its quality articles about web design culture). He’s released a couple of little comic books with simple drawings and cute comedy. I find his work easy to relate to, even though I’d never dream of watercolouring like he does.

4. Rachael Kuan – I forget how I stumbled upon her work, but it’s inspired me in a lot of ways. There’s a purity about it; I get a sense of “I just want to have fun and make stuff”. Not sure if this is what drives her, but I certainly feel that way when I read her zines and look at the photos & collages on her website. Rachael is a Perth local who works in a library and plays in a rock band. She’s also a friend of an ex’s and I’ve hung out with her brother before, so I feel weird fangirling over work done by someone so close in degrees, but oh well. We don’t know each other in person, so it’s not that creepy, I’ve decided.

5. and 6. NANA – Japanese shoujo movie based on the manga/anime. It’s about 2 girls who share the same name, but are very different in personality and interests. Initially drawn together by coincidence, they get used to each other and form a close friendship. Yeah, totally shoujo, but it made me cry lots and had a lovely style – interior design, photography, music, fashion. The images in my compilation were taken from the ‘making of’ photo book – alongside the movie, I really like the way Japanese magazines lay out their stuff.

7. A quote from Einstein that I found on Jason Mraz’s blog alongside that pic of him: “The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.”

8. Birds in flight – I think of birds a lot. Not sure why. They’re not my favourite animal. I dream about flying a lot, though, so maybe it’s familiarity. At my old place, I considered painting one of the walls a stark white with silhouettes of birds and lovely pretty words in nice typography. But I struggled to think of words I’d want to see every day and never got around to it.

9. My cousin Leanne – She’s a photographer in the UK. I’m not familiar in depth with her work, but I’m very proud of her for doing it so well and to such a professional extent. It’s really encouraging to see such dedication to her art; makes me feel like I can do it too. I’m totally jealous of her talent and even moreso of her motivation.

10. and 11. Diagrams of psych theories stuck in my head. The first is from multiple intelligence theory, which purports that our intelligence is comprised of talents in specific areas. The second is Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, suggesting we can only achieve self-awareness if our more basic creature needs are met. Other theories that swim around in my mind when I work include the theory of flow (mental state of immersion), the Dungeons & Dragons alignment model and general user experience and usability theory.

12. My own stuff, not because I find my stuff inspiring, but that looking at what I like or hate about my own work inspires me to try and do better next time. Also, I feel it gives me license to experiment in future projects because stuff I’ve produced are “done and dusted”. This is probably what’s meant by ‘learning from experience’, which I think is the most fun way to learn. :)