Tag Archive: nas


Finding Inspiration 101

Inspiration for an artist is like fuel to a car. As long as they are filled with it, they will continue to create fantastic work.

But, once that inspiration starts to run low and you can feel it slowly pointing to “empty”, things start to get confusing and your mind turns into a  pile of blank crumpled piece of paper where you can’t even sketch out an idea.

I have recently got out of “artist’s block”, and Im here to tell you how to prevent yourself from getting into it and getting out of it should it happen.

Dont worry this won’t be a long ass post. Just some tips to help you.

Preventing Artist’s Block:

the way our minds work, is way different from how others work, because as artists, we dont usually sit down in a group and jot down ideas, no. Most of our brilliant ideas come from those light bulb moments, where you will be  walking down the street listening to Nas (had to throw that in there), and all of a sudden you stop and start grinning because you just came up with the sickest idea of all. Its those moments that drive you! (Your gasoline)

Write them right away and store it. On your phone, voice note, whatever, just make a record of it. Because after that moment you will notice that all of the ideas will be pouring in, and you have to be ready.

How does this help prevent AB?

Going back to the car metaphor, when your ideas start pouring in, its like driving on the autobahn and you are going 180 km/hr. And once you start forgetting the ideas that are coming out, its like hitting a pothole on this road and it slows you down. This can easily discourage any artist because now you have to hit the brakes and try to remember what was the idea before the last. Soon this will turn into frustration, further leading to Artist’s block.

So write everything down! Who cares if it looks like chicken scratch, you’ll decode it later.

-Ignore what everyone says when you are going through pre-Artist’s Block. The last thing you want to do is to create someone elses idea. It probably an artist’s pride thing, because at the end of the day, its only a true success if it came straight from your mind and heart. So don’t waste your time discussing it with others.

-Always remain present.

What the hell does that mean?? It means exactly what it says. Don’t get too caught up in “future ideas”. The problem with most of us is that we focus too much on the end result of things and we lack focus on the actual work that needs to be done presently.

So take one idea at a time. Trust yourself. You came up with the present idea already, what makes you think you won’t have a thousand more later on?

So remain present.

Getting out of AB:

If you ever get stuck in a ditch that we call Artist’s Block this is what you need to do first: stop thinking!

Like I mentioned before we tend to spiral and curl into a ball of frustration, once we can’t get an idea out.  So what I do is stop thinking. How to stop thinking? I usually start listening to the noises that surround me, even listen to my own breathing. relax….this usually helps you step out of your state of AB. Now, I suggest you don’t do anything for a few moments. Just relax. What this is doing is resetting your thought patterns. Basically pressing the good ol’ ctrl+alt+del on the mind. Let it reset and start thinking of all the great work you’ve come up with in the past. Think of how good it felt to show people your work and the great comments you got for it.  What this does is it starts your mind on a positive path, and you will see from there that your thought patterns are more workable.

I know I may sound like a spiritual teacher but what you didnt know is that most artists are spiritual people but they just don’t know it.

-listen to music. One of my favorite ways to untangle my thoughts. Its always the same pattern for me. Start off with some Tribe Called Quest, and end it off with some Talib Kweli. Do the same! Listen to your favorite albums and just take it all in. This is just another way to reset your mind.

So I’m hoping these tips helped you out. What I would highly suggest is to maybe tweak what I’ve told you to your likings. Keep in mind that this works for me because I have observed myself in the Artists Block stages and I’ve noted things that worked for me to get out of it.

 

Ill be open and say that I am 30 years old and over the years have come across a few hundred thousand album covers, almost making it impossible to remember them. Now to break it down to just top 5 was quite the challenge, and absolutely wouldn’t be fair to other album covers that I may have forgotten. SO, I based this on what was going on in my mind at this present moment, pure spontaneous instinct, if there is such thing. lol.

Number 5:

Nas. I love the fact he used the same background for these 4 albums. It tells a story and if you follow and listen to Nas you to would see what he was trying to portray.

Number 4:

Alice Smith.

To be honest her album was good, but when I was short in space for my ipod, she was one of the first to go. No offense. But to me, what stuck out the most was her cover. Love the artwork, looks like a mix media between airbrush, photo shop, and marker. I could be wrong. But the way they used the background for some reason really pulls me in.

Number 3:

Outkast: ATLiens

Big fan of the comic book look. I think they were one of the first to try this and pulled it off.

Number 2:

Kanye West. Why? Because you know that he just wanted to make people ask “WTF?”

But if you know what Kanye’s been through and all the battles he’s faced, whether it be spiritual, emotional or personal, the art work says a lot, and says it loudly.  Here is just one of the few paintings that are a part of Kanye’s “My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy” album.

And at number 1:

MJ. Yes that’s right. Since i was 8, when this cover came out I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. And today I still find this cover badass.

think about the technology back then. they didnt have photoshop. this piece must have been done with airbrush, maybe some guache, and maybe some acrylic work. But just think of how they pieced it together.  This cover is a true piece of work.

Mentionables: Metallica ( and Justice for all), Blackstar (mos def & talib kweli), beatles white album, jayz black album, Gorrilaz (all of them)