Filling the creative well – Who inspires you? (artists)

Who are other artists, illustrators or designers that inspire you?

Gretchen: Franck de las Mercedes he’s based in NYC, born in Nicaragua. he is the founder of the priority Peace Box. You could email him and he would send you this box. It was very abstract, expressionistic, with different colours. The box was totally empty, it wasn’t meant to be opened, but it would say things like ‘handle with care’, ‘peace in side’, ‘fragile’, ‘hope’. No matter where you lived in the world he would send you a box. I was so moved and inspired by this. He was just doing this off his own free will, his expression of giving to others and the world, he was financing this on his own, and was just compelled to keep doing that.

So I follow him and the different things that he’s doing, including public art related to peace. I really like that thing of leaving things in public places for people to stumble across and be inspired or moved or give them a sense of hope when there’s a lot of things going on that can really bring us down, I think art is such a great way to really neutralise some of that and uplift people. I’m really super inspired by the work that he does, it’s great.

I really like that thing of leaving things in public places for people to stumble across and be inspired or moved or give them a sense of hope… 

Nancy:  I am very inspired by the Surrealist movement and see many of my drawings and collaged landscapes to be surreal. I love works with natural materials or amorphous shapes that speak to me. Some of my favourite artists are: Henry Moore, Salvador Dali’, Louise Bourgeois, Remedios Varo, Patrick Dougherty, Andy Goldsworthy, Kiki Smith, Ruth Asawa, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, and Hans Bellmer to name a few.Here is a link to a Pinterest site with artists that inspire me.

Chris: I love comic books. Comic books are a huge huge inspiration. I can’t say enough how much comic books meant to me when I was growing up. Because while mum and dad were in the other room arguing I was in my room drawing and reading comics and escaping. But also when you look at an oil painting I swear to God those people are alchemists, what they do is magic, I don’t understand it, I’ve read books, but it’s just beyond me. But when I look at a comic book, I can study that line, and now that I know they use a brush I know how they make that, and so I could learn by seeing it. I could immediately see it and copy it.

Another person I owe a great debt to in life is Jim Henson who created the Muppets. That guy, for his sheer volume of imagination alone. Not to mention the fact that that was just sheet joy in the things he made…

Another person I owe a great debt to in life is Jim Henson who created the Muppets. That guy, for his sheer volume of imagination alone. Not to mention the fact that that was just sheet joy in the things he made, whether they were serious for movies, or whether they were humorous, for the muppets or sesame street. You know those simple puppets when I was 3 years old, were living things. Big Bird and Oscar the grouch were real things to me. Which is an amazing thing to be able to create life in that way.

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About the artists interviewed:
Nancy Lautenbach – I have worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, arts administratorand for 4 years owned a gallery/performance space called Ten Weston Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI where I grew up and lived until 1997. I am a practicing interdisciplinary artist working in a variety of media including: pen and ink, sculpture, ceramics, installation, fibers, and bookmaking. I always carry a sketchbook and/or camera with me. Read more here.

Chris Mostyn – I have taught art in middle school for over a decade now. I have seen a lot of amazing things from kids and some from teachers as well. I have also seen a lot of things that need to change. I have been an illustrator and gallery artist for years but it was always comics I loved best. In 2015 it dawned on me that I had a lot to say about art and teaching and comics would be a fun way to do it. So now, I continue to teach, make comics and ride bicycles around the Midwest. Read more here.

Gretchen Miller – I am a Cleveland based Registered Board Certified Art Therapist who enjoys finding inspiration, creating positive energy, and discovering transformation by working in mixed media, collage, altered art, art journaling, as well as organizing art exchanges and creative collaborations. My online art making community, 6 Degrees of Creativity unites concepts of social networking, connecting, collaboration, and creativity into an engaged global community of artists spreading creative goodness. Read more: Creativity in Motion. Read more here.

Image: Circles, oil pastel, J.Herriman

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