I’ve been asked often what is my inspiration with the art. I’m not sure how many times it has been asked and I usually answer them either of these: “outdoors, nature, whimsy” “I’m really not sure” or “it just popped out”. Because seriously most of the ideas just pop out of nowhere, yes, like daisies. But there is one thing I’ve been always vocal and been championing since the beginning and that is curiosity. All the artworks are called curiosities because I thought the illustrations and stories that pops out in mustard world are a bit weird and bizarre, only few people will be curious enough to see beyond the ordinary. As it turned out, there are a lot of great wonder-filled people out there and their curiosity found my little patch of mustard.
I round up some curiosity thoughts today, hopefully to add some ideas to help you dig your limitless well of inspiration to staying curious.
ELEVATE THE ORDINARY
Sometimes curiosity is hiding in plain eye sight. Often it is looking at the ordinary and elevating it up. The House at Tagen Street illustration came from the scraps of an old beetle I saw online. I remembered the house props used in an old local comedy sitcom, Home Along Da Riles. Their house are made out of wood and roof scraps, it was leaning on a wall beside the railroad. Everything in that house are ordinary but together they actually look really good 🙂 Using that house and the old beetle, I was able to come up with this Volkswagen Beetle House.
Culture is probably the most understated treasure anyone can learn for free. Anywhere we go, there is always different culture. One household has different culture as the other one. In Philippines alone, we are packed with immense amount of cultural heritage, we just need to have a listen, see and immerse. The June Harvest Festival is directly inspired with the Taong Putik Festival in Bibiclat, Nueva Ecija celebrating the Feast of St. John the Baptist. I saw this in a film and researched them online way back in 2009. When I made my own illustration 3 years ago, I did not know I was pulling something out of memory until I was almost done.
SNIPPETS OF ART
As Austin Kleon has tipped us, Steal like an Artist. Listen to the words in between the songs or maybe look for details that other artist may have used but never elevated. Or simply learn from them 🙂 The Native Americans have great colorful tattoos, I have a print copy of chieftains and warriors (included in a book), and the hues on their bodies is contrasting to their burnt brown skin. They looked flawlessly masculine and it would be a shame if they don’t have a ride as colorful as them, thus the Red Caribou with tattoo was created.
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT
Life, this meant all that exists and existed in this earthen land, sea and air. Everything that breathes ” I have Life in Me.” It does not matter if its a living thing or non-living thing, as long as it is filled and touched by life, like a beaten barn, sunsets or old toys. They don’t breath but they are filled with life. This was the inspiration of the Wooden Jack Rabbit illustration, an old toy stuck on a poppy hill waiting to be played with.
So there, those are my infinite well inspiration. Sometimes digging for it is a real hard work, sometimes you dig so deep but for nothing. It happens to me a lot too. But the great news is that inspiration is infinite if we are curious. I hope this helps anyone out there looking or practicing being curious. Dig and enjoy!
P.S. This is why I love Albert Einstein, he is my Curiosity Physicist 😀
Some of the photos used are from this links, all credits to their owner: