As much as I respect and admire tangible inspiration boards, my favorite thing about cataloging my inspiration online is how quickly I can see trends forming and patterns shaping, molding into each other to determine what the landscape of creativity might look like for the year. After searching my Pinterest feed for a particular image late last night, it became evident just how connected images can be, seemingly conversing with one another – regardless of when and where they were originally formed.
A few years ago, I ran a series entitled Juxtaposition, where I searched through portfolios of independent photographers, perusing countless photos and playing matchmaker with image upon image. It was a thrill, and I loved seeing the world connect in this small, visual way. The images were inspired, not imitated – the perfect balance to strike, just like the images I’m sharing today. (Below, a random assortment of styled buttons from accessory house Ban.Do sings when paired with the work of Kontor Kontur.)
It’s an interesting conversation to have – inspiration vs. imitation, specifically within my own small corner of the design world. And although I don’t want to speak to imitation today (the intentionally negative act warrants no explanation, in my opinion), I do think it’s important to open a discussion surrounding the boundaries of inspiration. (Below, a product vignette from stylist Rosa Regerar plays nicely with Danish furniture company HAY’s most recent catalog.)
To me, one of the greatest definitions of inspiration comes from Brainpickings author and founder Maria Popova, a brilliant woman who curates daily snippets of interesting items across a variety of disciplines and time periods. She writes:
Because creativity, after all, is a combinatorial force. It’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to culture, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will become.
And I think she’s 100% right. Connecting dots and sharing, re-sharing and spreading ideas to create and build and grow. (Above, the organized chaos of a Catalina Bartolome portrait works well with a recent RAW color photo shoot.) This is inspiration. This is creativity. And, like LEGOs, it’s up to us to build newer, bolder, better structures utilizing the tools we already have. Can we re-imagine new pieces, rather than sticking to the same blueprint that imitates the buildings around us?
Here’s to building a city of inspiration, one LEGO at a time.
p.s. I chose the images above because they are perfect examples of inspired pairings, rather than imitations. They are simple byproducts of shared experiences and visual interests. Although imitations certainly exist, I don’t wish to participate in the spreading and supporting of those pairings.