When it comes to creating great art, you need to learn more about the world. Uninformed art is never great, and usually has almost nothing to say. If you hope to blossom your talents and become respected for your output, it might be that you need to broaden your horizons. First, you should consider traveling the world.
Nomadic artists are nothing new. From the early days of humanity, people have been noting, drawing and representing the world around them via sculpture, drawing, crafts, music, and symbols. The creative spirit is absolutely something that is universal, and it can be encouraged by traveling. You likely already know this. If you consider yourself a nomadic creative type, looking for your muse the world over, you likely know the benefit of this. If you’re someone who respects and admires that lifestyle and hopes to experience it for yourself, it can be important to know where to begin.
The following guide will help you find methods of beginning this with wisdom, and finding inspiration for your art the world over:
It can be a very good idea to hop from place to place, but this doesn’t mean you need to simply find the cheapest hostel available and go for that. Sometimes this can only afford you a surface level understanding of a culture. If you’re to deep dive, experience an environment, meet its people and enjoy its cuisine, then you might need to stick around just a little longer than all of this. For example, it might be that finding a room for rent in Singapore no owner occupied could afford you a comfortable manner in recharging your batteries after a long day of spending your creative juices on whatever innovative projects you are working hard on completing.
This will help you experience a middle to long-term stay in a country so long as your funds allow, helping you find stability in your work, or somewhere to conduct your projects in the timespan that your grant allows for. Temporary accommodation can help you identify with the culture around you instead of only feeling like an impostor. Sometimes, the best parts of a culture do not lend themselves to you until you have visited an area several times, have made friends, and have adapted to the country well.
It might be your work requires heavy research only found in an official library archive, that you become transfixed in studying the architecture of a given place, or that your efforts to learn the history will take more time than simply living in a night to night accommodation with limited facilities. With this choice, you can potentially experience a place to settle for the time being, and to let your creative talents learn, grow and become free to express themselves in this new and exciting environment.
While it might not be the case that you learn every language for every country you visit, picking one broad language and learning it could help you speak to a wider majority of people than you might have previously been able to. This is nothing but an excellent manner of learning a people and its history, as when you learn it in the original language nothing is lost in translation. Remember that learning about a culture in a nation’s language can help you think like them, because the words, expressions, and grammar of any people can help you understand them with more accuracy, and learn of the subtle acts of communication they make. The difference between any surface level and great artist is the capacity to relate to the people they decide to express, paint, write or pay homage to.
This means that taking language classes, reading foreign language literature, understanding art and history among many other things can contribute to your understanding of culture. This can work in many different ways, and some that you might not expect. For example, let’s say you are writing a science fiction novel. It might upon first inspection seem as though learning the language of another culture has zero benefit for you, aside from being able to interface with the great works of the genre solely expressed in that language.
In fact, this isn’t the case. If you look to many great works of writing you can see the influences that come from the learning of the world around us. It might be you become interested in the happenings and stories of a fourteenth-century royal dynasty in a select country. This might prove the inspiration for an exotic social system in your novel that seems fascinating to people back home. In order to be interesting in your art you need to be interested in the world around you, and inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. This is just one example, but it serves to illustrate how putting yourself out there and learning more about the world around you can truly impact the quality, breadth, and ambition of your work.
Some history you can read about online or in books. Some you must visit to appreciate. For example, fans of the phenomenal film Good Will Hunting will remember one of the most powerful quotes in the movie. To summarize the context, Robin William’s character is giving a much-needed life lesson to Matt Damon’s character. He states: “Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling.”
It’s quite obvious to see that what Robin is saying here is that reality is much more profound, dizzying, marvelous and interesting than what you can read in a summarized form, or what can be photographed for you with a filtered lense and editing in Photoshop. For this reason, to spurn great art within yourself, you will need to visit locations in person, and come to your own conclusions about your inspiration. This isn’t to say you can ignore how things have been recorded and written, but sometimes it will take one look at the Sistine Chapel to fully appreciate its breadth and beauty, even if you have watched six documentaries on the subject that week.
If there’s anything you can say about the world it’s that it’s full of history, some known and some waiting to be uncovered. This isn’t to say you should be an Indiana Jones type of figure swinging over traps and uncovering artifacts, but you can certainly walk in the footsteps of people long gone, see the landscapes they did, become inspired by the architecture, and offer your own artistic imprint when expressing the culture and ideas that they so boldly did so many years ago. A one on one relationship to your art like this can help you avoid being anything other than authentic, allowing your travel to fully envelop you, and for you to gain a much clearer understanding of that which you’re trying to convey.
Respecting The Greats
The phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ might not be applicable when it comes to developing your own work and hoping it is seen. However, it might be that respecting the greats and studying their style can help you gain a clearer picture of your excitement to contribute. A traveling artist might visit the walkways and work of the great architects of France, of English novelists and playwrights such as Shakespeare at his home in Stratford upon Avon, or visit old cutting factories for Super 8 footage from back in the day.
Respecting the greats will mean you will need to travel from country to country, but this can give you purpose and direct your travelling pursuits. This can help you feel completely absorbed and interested, and give you that global perspective of how the environment can influence creativity, and perhaps gain an insight into the conditions that made some of the most famous men in history. Plus, sometimes the right surroundings can feel the most incredible to learn about your inspirations and allow their touch to guide your work. The artists among you will understand this perspective intimately.
Meditation & Sensuality
To conduct great work you need to think and think deeply. This means visiting places with a strong meditative aspect, such as the long beautiful fields of the Netherlands or the rural beauty of Italy. It might be visiting orthodox temples and churches in Russia or heading to the Buddhist temples of Kyoto. This can help you reflect on your work in new surroundings and once again, perhaps allow what you learn there to influence your art.
You might also consider heightening the sensuality you usually experience. This might be found in eating a certain cuisine, enjoying strange art pieces, viewing the often experimental fashion of high-end European districts among many other things. Striking a great balance between pure novelty in sensuality and meditating deeply can often be conducted in the same country, but getting different flavors of this can help you simply experience more of a memorable nature, and this is inspiring in itself.
With these tips, you are sure to use travel to your advantage and create better art because of his fact.