Artists share thoughts on inspirations, frustrations

Apr 25, 2019

Artists are known for their inspired view of the world, for looking at things differently and being able to create from what they see around them. More eccentric artists are also famous for venting their frustrations in strange ways. What are the inspirations and frustrations for ArtWeek artists? Sippican Week decided to ask.  

Barbara Healy, painter

I am inspired by nature's shifting light and colors. The beautiful landscape of south coastal Massachusetts where I like to be outside — walking, biking, boating, gardening and painting — is always changing.   

I can get frustrated with my painting, but I think it is part of the creative process. If it is too easy, I am not growing as an artist.

Jodi Stevens, textile artist and executive director, Marion Art Center

Inspiration? Other people's art!  I often find that going to a gallery opening or discovering new artists inspires me to create something new.  Seeing others' interpretations of an image or concept makes me want to explore my own ideas or perspectives, perhaps with different materials or in a new way.  When I feel moved by art, I can't get the work out of my head for weeks!

Without a doubt, I am most frustrated by time.  Balancing art-making and regular life may be an ordinary challenge for many artists, but my artwork is specifically made over a condensed amount of time.  For building site-specific work, I often devote long consecutive days, even weeks, to complete a temporary installation.  I enjoy the labor-intensive process, and that experience it is an integral part of the work itself.  Carving out a week or two is not always possible, so I try to "stay creative" by practicing other forms of making.

Tracy Silva Barbosa, co-owner Duende Glass LLC. 

I am inspired by the tenacity of nature, how human memory affects the experience and finding beauty in unexpected places.

What is most frustrating about being creative is that there are not enough hours in the day to fulfill my creativity.

Mark Howland, Tabor Academy Director of Drama/Dance, playwright

Quiet inspires.

Frustrations? Carving out time. Discipline is a challenge as well.

Cid Tamagno, fine artist, Feng Shui specialist, educator

What inspires me are both internal and external forces. Living in New England, there's the force of nature to create weather that promotes and confounds the artist in all of us! 
The internal drive to invent a different way of seeing, thinking or being is deep seated within me. I like to be surprised, challenged and fulfilled by making something extraordinary out of the  everyday!

The most frustrating thing about being creative is the lack of time I am actually able to be in the creative mode to make art. Therefore, in everything else I have to do, I put my creative energy to work! I like to think "outside the box" and do tasks or work with the same enthusiasm I have for my artistic endeavors. I am not a robot and cannot be programmed for a mindless, unfeeling existence. 

Phil Sanborn, director of instrumental music, Tabor Academy

Inspiration? Almost everything that is positive that I encounter every day.  Most often, that is my wife and the support she gives me.  Working with people making music at all levels is personally motivational to me.

Frustration? Not having enough time to devote to the creative process.  

Barbara Greenspan, art therapist

What inspires me is nature and how beautiful leaves and flowers and shells are. I love to take walks and collect them and use their forms in my art works. I enjoy sharing my love for making things with other people and encourage everyone to make art. It is a very powerful creative outlet.

Frustration comes when I don't have enough time to work on my art works or I can't find enough of a certain art material for art classes I run. I love what I do, so I make it work!

Benares Angeley, owner Children’s Art Lab 

My children are my greatest inspiration, because they love making art with me.  They always come up with super cool ideas, and they love the process of working with art materials.  They constantly inspire me with their ability to go through our recycling and [make] sculptures!  My kids help me come up with projects for the Art Lab all the time, and I notice this same innovation in all the kids that attend classes.  Kids are just master creators, makers, inventors, and artists!

It frustrates me when adults underestimate the importance of process-based art making.  Kids need time — a lot of time — to explore materials.  They don’t need to worry about making a final product or creating a masterpiece. They need to figure out how paint and glue and paper work.  They need to practice and experiment and learn that it’s OK to make mistakes.  Too often adult expectations exceed what is developmentally appropriate for children. 

Jill Sanford, owner, Art for Your Mind

I am inspired daily - by the levels of excitement, fascination and empowerment that people experience (from kindergartners to the elderly, and every age in between) when they're offered new ways to look at and think about art.  People surprise themselves as they discover not only how perceptive and intuitive they are, but how that realization awakens their own creativity.

I'm actually an art historian and not a practicing artist as many of the other Art Week folks are, so I don't share the frustrations that they may feel.