Museums? Not So Much

On Monday we talked about the things that inspire you and the things that just don’t. Like, ever. As in: take away any hope you ever had of ever having a great idea, ever again in life.
Because I write about artists and am deeply embedded in the world of mixed media art, people send me recommendations for things they think I’ll enjoy: websites for me to visit, museums in cities where we’ll be traveling. Often these are excellent suggestions for things I really like, but not always. The truth is that, for me, it’s not really about the art. It’s about the artist and her/his process, about the creative spark that spurs them. Although I love seeing art and craft of all kinds from stained glass to sketches on notebook paper, if I had to choose, I’d bypass the galleries and museums and go to artists’ studios. Now, I don’t mean the pristine, perfect studios you see in the magazines. While those are fun to look at for ideas about paint colors and lighting and ergonomic seating options, they seldom show much of the hand of the artist at work. The studios I’m talking about are studios like those of Gail Rieke and Kelly Buntin Johnson and Becki Smith, studios that are full of stuff: art and pieces in progress and experiments and notebooks and things the artist has saved or found or been given. Go here to see photos of Gail’s studio.

Here’s a photo of Kelly showing me around her fabulous studio, where I spent an amazing afternoon that still inspires my brain:

Freeman-Zachery Kelly Buntin Johnson

You can see more here, on Kelly’s website.

And here’s a shot of a door in Becki’s studio, a truly amazing building that exudes creative vibes:

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I’ve been to all three of these artists’ studios, and there was something magical in each one. Sure, they all have a lot of cool stuff, and there’s enough eye candy in each one to keep you oohing and aahing for days. I love their work, and seeing finished pieces up close in real life is beyond fabulous. But more than that, there’s the very palpable feeling that inspiration lives there, that this place, this room, is where ideas are sparked and nurtured to life. For me, that’s so much more interesting than any fabulous result because it’s as close as I’ll ever get to seeing actual creativity unless I can become invisible and watch firsthand the actual work of someone alone, inspired, completely oblivious to everything but what’s right there in her hands. Since that’s not likely to happen (esp. the invisibility part), seeing the places where that has happened before and will happen again? As close as I’m going to get to being able to dive into the vortex that is the creative brain at work.

Creative time and space For more about creativity, try Ricë’s own Creative Time and Space.





Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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