Inspiration: a functional approach to creative practice.

PhD thesis in Art, Design & Media, by Gil Dekel.


5. Abstract

This thesis describes an exploration of the processes of conception of inspiration and application in art-making through making art (engaging audiences in some instances), reflecting on the process of making art, and through the accounts of others who undertake such practice.

A review of the current situation evidences that being inspired to create art is largely seen as a stage removed from the creative process, which happens before the creative process, after it or beyond it, yet not as part of it. The literature separates the creative act from the initial stage of being inspired, dividing the process into two distinctive perspectives that do not sit together. The literature does not portray a uniform whole experience. This view sees the individual as having little influence over the initiation of his or her artwork and the motivation to create it.

Taking an autoethnographic position, through reflection on personal practice and in-depth interviews with contemporary practitioners I argue that the conception of inspiration, or being inspired to create art, is an integral part of the creative process, not an external part. A model of the process of inspiration based on a sequence of stages – stimulation, internalisation, and application – is put forward in this thesis. Each stage is investigated through reference to a body of practical actions (making of artworks, interviewing artists, presenting papers and engaging audiences) in conjunction with examples from contemporary and historical art practice.

Finally, through operationalisation of this model, this research demonstrates that inspiration is an integral part of the creative process, and through a participatory art experiment indicates an approach as to how it can be better accessed or used in an applicable and practical way by those usually deemed as ‘non-artistic’.