NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Beauty in the mundane: Find inspiration, challenge yourself and see things differently

A big thing right now is finding strong enough inspiration during these trying times that will give you a desire to create. A lot of creatives have found new ways of finding inspiration, and it’s been a surprise to realize that sometimes inspiration comes from the things that we might not deem as interesting upon first glance. Although I’m into photography, I’ve found myself finding inspiration from books (that have no actual visuals), paintings, and even clothing. You just have to know where to look and have an open mind.

Some creatives find comfort in solitude. Some strive when they have nothing but time. Being able to focus entirely on their art without any distractions is a gift (considering some have the ability to ignore the current state of the world), and they use this as a time to focus and create.

For others (myself included), that may not be the case. I myself am an artist whose process has always been uncertain and fickle, never sure. Inspiration and motivation comes to me in pieces. Nothing comes to me in sequence, nothing in its fullest form. A spark of inspiration throughout the day has me running for my camera, or to whatever tools are immediately available to me to write down my last thoughts, in hopes that it won’t leave my mind.

This pandemic forced me to realize that the uncertainty and inconsistency of my process insinuates that inspiration comes externally, therefore it is dependent of my surroundings. I know that is the case for many other creatives, where they need an external source of inspiration, rather than finding it inside of us. This past year proved to us that we are in no way in control of the outside world, but we do have control over ourselves. What we do have control over is our ability to acknowledge our own story, our own ability to remember past experiences, to use what we’ve learned and to act with intention. These are things that we all have control over as creatives and as people living in a time of such unpredictability and uncertainty.

I had the honor of speaking to Ariana Pina, local artist and creative, about finding the inspiration needed to create something, even with the lack of stimulation due to the changing environment. “Before the pandemic, an important part of my creative process consisted of hanging out with friends on my free time. I loved being around them in their element, getting to see their creative process. I’ve always struggled with staying motivated and being in those positive, stimulating environments was inspiring me to create something. My source of inspiration wasn’t necessarily limited to being in a specific environment… Being around my friends/acquaintances in any kind of setting is enough for me to be inspired in some way, because they’re just really cool people with interesting things to share.”

“Now that I’ve had to Quarantine and social distance, I haven’t seen any of my friends at all really. I’ve had to adjust my attitude towards gaining inspiration, in the way that pre-Covid, I wasn’t necessarily out ‘looking’ for ideas or inspiration. Now I have to look with intent” she says.

It’s hard to find new ways of staying active and creative, especially when you already have a way of doing things. In the “before times”, we all had a certain system in which we would work but all of that went out the window with this pandemic, and that might not necessarily be a bad thing. I believe it is important to break out of habits. It is important to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. It is important to do new things you don’t feel confident with, as that is how you grow. To challenge habits is to grow, and growth in itself can be art.

“Recently I’ve been realizing how other artists have taken advantage of their self-isolation in such productive ways, personal to them and their work. A lot of people I’ve noticed online have been able to create despite the extremities brought by this Pandemic which has honestly kind of lit a fire in my ass… I’ve reminded myself that I love creating and I’m becoming acquainted with new people, art, ideas etc.. from around the world, more now than ever” says Pina.

“I’ve been screenshotting photos online, writing down concept ideas, and creating mood boards to ensure that I actually apply my ideas, as opposed to discarding them!” she says.

Creativity is many things. It is making new connections, with yourself or a great other universal energy. It is connecting with new ideas. It is embracing fear, doubt, and our inner critic. It is staying open-minded. It is challenging ourselves to do things we do not regularly do. It is being able to acknowledge that we truly aren’t doing enough. It is pushing ourselves to do more, for the things that we love doing.