Elizabeth Gilbert's Skybary in the New York Times

Weekly Creative Inspiration #4


Art & Design Inspiration Roundup

The ARTLABguide’s dose of curated works, from contemporary fine art, to illustration, and the numerous fields of design to inspire you to find the creative in the everyday and fuel your creative habit.

Elle Luna’s studio in 2015

Confession: Last week I had to take a little bit of a break, so I didn’t have a Weekly Inspo post or Newsletter. I was writing/making some work about self-care recently, and it’s been a rough past couple of weeks, personally and at work. So I decided to take a little bit of my own self-care medicine to relax, and spend some time with my wife and friends. What about you? What do you do to take some time out for yourself and recharge? In the past, I would give up and throw my towel in. Now, I’ve learned to take breaks when needed and still keep up with creating, writing, drawing and illustrating.

Hey LABgeeks! This week’s inspiration has been something that’s always intrigued me as a creative–the inspired spaces and studios that artists, designers, and creators work in. It’s amazing to see what type of space fellow creatives have, whether it’s a small space, room or full-fledged studio. What kind of tools do they have or use? What’s their set up? Do they live where they work or have a home based creative space–what about one they have to travel to, like in a warehouse or collaborative place?

Over the years, I’ve grown to be more passionate (er, obsessed) about interior design (yes, HGTV is one of my go-to channels and I was even addicted to Design Home video game for a good minute–ANYWAY), not even realizing how this passion ties into the inspired places that artists do their work.

What about you? Where do you create? Do you have a designated space, room, corner, desk, table–a studio? Or are you a creative nomad that’s mobile and works out of cafes or co-working spaces? Let me know in the comments below (and I’ll be sharing more of these inspired spaces on Instagram also).

(Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you. This helps me provide more quality content to you.)

Elle Luna’s Art Studio

Elle Luna’s studio back in 2014

Speaking of dreamy inspired creative spaces–what if you had a nightly recurring dream about a space? And then after a simple prompt from a friend asking–“Have you ever thought about finding your dream in real life?”. This was Elle Luna’s story in what started as a Medium post turned book. Eventually, she did find her space, on Craigslist, and that’s where her journey began. I highly recommend at least reading her post, or better yet checking out her book–it’s a wonderful inspiration for a creative, especially if you’ve been dreaming about doing something, and have been stuck on the sidelines or still hear that voice of “What if…” in your creative career.

What if who we are and what we do become one and the same? What if our work is so thoroughly autobiographical that we can’t parse the product from the person? What if our jobs are our careers and our callings?

Elle Luna – “The Crossroads of Should and Must”

Lisa Congdon’s Studio

Lisa Congdon Studio featured in Architectural Digest, Photo: Janis Nicolas

More recently, I’ve been studying the work and career of Lisa Congdon–so much so, she’s become a mentor for me, by way of reading her books, taking her classes, and learning from /applying the ways she’s made a thriving creative career for herself as an artist, illustrator, writer, teacher, and public speaker. To boot, she’s a self-proclaimed late bloomer and never even considered herself an artist, not even when started with a simple painting class at the age of 31. Even then, she’s only taken a handful of classes and is largely self-taught, and her art career had not taken off until nearly a decade later–all of which I resonate with as a self-taught graphic designer, having come from the fine art world, and first trying to pursue a career as a fine artist, but now forging my two paths into one. Her studios have been beautiful white sanctuaries, with bursts of bold color from her work, books, and art tools. I especially loved her converted garage studio, and it’s inspired me to think about doing the same for our garage or having a studio shed in our backyard. Also shown here, with a bright tiger saying “Hello” is most recent retail space in Portland. Her studios have even been featured in Architectural Digest, Design Sponge, and the book Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People to name a few.

Allison Tinati, a.k.a. painter and graffiti artist, Hueman’s Atelier

While studying art in New York City and even covering the topic in some art classes, I’d really gotten into graffiti as an art form. Not in painting or as an art medium, but really being inspired by and admiring graffiti artists. Women graffiti artists are not too common as graffiti artists, let alone ones that have a specific aesthetic that’s inspired the latest art and design trends. Allison Tinati, or more commonly known as Hueman, has a beautiful space based in Oakland, CA. It’s light and airy, but the perfect space to not only showcase her work, but grow and evolve her work between spray can and canvas.

Fran Meneses, a.k.a. Frannerd’s Studio

Frannerd’s studio in Brooklyn

After listening to an episode of the Creative Pep Talk podcast with Andy J. Pizza, I’d come to know of Frannerd and her work, and not long after, her awesome YouTube channel. When she started her vlogs, she’d noticed that all these other girls were talking about makeup and their tutorials, but she wanted to nerd out about her sketchbooks, paints, brushes, markers–you name it (this is totally way up more my alley, too!). It didn’t take long for me to be a fan and even support her on Patreon. I love being able to support fellow creatives if I can–whether it’s writing a review for them, buying their books or products, or donating if I’m able to. Just as much as I love their work, they’ve become incredible mentors in helping me pursue my own dream in a thriving creative career. In the same way, you’ll see Fran’s passion for her work and helping others succeed and pursue their creative careers, too. Thanks to the support of her work and patrons, she’s been able to get her own studio space in Brooklyn, to not only work but run her shop of awesome merch as well.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Writing Desk

For a long time now, Elizabeth Gilbert has been a huge influence, and mentor as well, on my creative practice. Like many many others, I’ve come to know and love and be part of the movement that is Eat, Pray, Love. Not long after that, she wrote in a blog post years back the book that inspired her EPL journey was The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. As a fellow creative, and as a wonderful companion to The Artist’s Way, I was super excited for her book Big Magic.

In this photo here posted on Instagram just over a year ago, she talks about how in those boxes are thousands of index cards of research for her then upcoming book, City of Girls, which recently has launched along with her book tour. And within that space she talks about how she’s spent a lot of necessary alone time, but that she was never alone, because she was with her work, and that just as important as our work, is the “spaces we make for ourselves” in order to be “quiet and creative.”

I’ll leave you with Liz’s final words on that post about creative spaces for this week’s inspiration:

The spaces that we make for ourselves in which to be quiet and creative MATTER. They don’t have to be big rooms. It can be just a little corner, like this room. But the space should be clean, and everything in that space should remind you of who you are. There should be nothing in that space that doesn’t bring your senses to life. I will be staring at that wall, and at these boxes of notes, and at those paintings, until my work is done. There’s nowhere else I could be right now. I’m spending a lot of time by myself, and it’s necessary. But I’m not alone — my work is with me. I want to say this: Whatever your life brings to you, respond with creation. If you are celebrating, create. If you are grieving, create. Only create. Always create. Constant creative response. This is the engine of resilience.

Elizabeth Gilbert on creative spaces via Instagram