Artists, artisans, and creators are on a constant lookout for sources of inspiration. They’re searching for the next big idea that will drive them, as well as the spark that will ignite the flame of their ingenuity and creativity. In this vein, they often discover and channel inspiration from the past, from masters who paved the way in many different mediums. One of the most inspiring periods for many artisans is the 17th century.
Inspirational pieces from this period include everything from paintings and drawings, to sculpture and needlework, to clothing and architecture, to textile design, furniture design, and even book design. There are many examples of all of these items on the Internet and in books, but there are places artists can go where they can see these historic objects up close and in person. These places include art and antiques auctions in California.
Inspiration-Gathering at California Auctions: Suggestions
Gathering inspiration is always a personal process, but there are tried-and-true ways to do it that have worked consistently for many artists and artisans. The number one rule that applies to inspiration-gathering, however, is that there are no rules. There is no limit to where an idea may come from because inspiration is everywhere.
The Value of In-Person Viewing
At auction houses, items up for sale may be displayed in a main gallery or showroom up to the point of sale. This gives people a chance to view and inspect them before bidding, but it also affords artisans and creatives a unique opportunity to interact with rare, historic, or valuable pieces from the past in person. Viewing something in real life is far different from looking at a picture of it on the web or in a book, and a whole new cache of ideas may spring from seeing an art piece or historic item in 3D.
Questions to Ask to Generate New Ideas
With these things in mind, collecting inspiration depends on what intrigues a particular person, not to mention what stands out to them about an object, situation, person, place, or idea. However, some people need a push to get them thinking in a way that generates new concepts. Here are some thoughts that may be helpful when pursuing the muse at auction houses:
What story does the piece depict? Are there multiple possible stories?
Look at the evidence of wear on the item, if any. Note its condition. What does this say about the usefulness of the piece? Try to imagine what kind of people would have used it, and in what ways.
Think about the value of the piece. If it is a painting or art object, why is it valuable? If it is a furniture piece or other “useful” item, why is it so treasured today?
Note the colors in or on the piece. How are they related — are they primary or secondary colors, for instance? Do they evoke nature? Think about why the artist or artisan chose them.
Is there a recurring pattern or motif on the object? What is it?
These questions are relevant when viewing any item or art piece for inspiration, not just 17th century or antique pieces. With the right mindset, inspiration can be drawn from any decade.