It is very difficult to narrow down inspiration because there are so many things that inspire me. To begin, I will have to start with my education. My degree is in mechanical engineering, so machinery is definitely an inspiration to me. Evidence of that is in some of my more recent artwork: Star Wars vehicles. The straight lines and “order” that is implied with working machinery is important to me. Making sure that everything has its place and it is functioning makes sense to me. Drawing the ships reflects that passion. I have only just begun with these types of drawings, so I will definitely expand upon these in the future. Cars and other machinery offer many possibilities as well that fit in with this inspirational idea. Most recently, I have begun to return to my "engineering" roots to explore the use of 3D printing. I have some 3D modeling skills from my time as a designer and engineer that I will be putting to use to make functional and artistic products.
Similar to the inspiration of machinery is architecture. Buildings and monuments can be very beautiful. Seeing something that is created by humans to provide shelter, act as a monument, or to assist getting to a different location (example: a bridge) while appealing to the human senses can be very inspiring. I work with a group of students and another teacher in the high school where I am employed in an art and drawing club. Our school is in Baltimore County. As you may have heard in the news, at the end of last school year, there was quite a bit of violence in the city due to anger and rioting. The students in the school felt the pressure of this negativity. To focus on the positive, we decided to complete a group project called “The Beauty of Baltimore.” We gave each of the students an assignment of creating a piece of art in any medium that reflected the beauty of Baltimore. The students asked my teacher partner and I to participate. I have always loved going to the National Aquarium in downtown Baltimore, so I chose that as the subject for my piece. Working on that piece inspired me to explore other architecture in the city. That’s where I started with the drawings of the landmarks. I had so much fun working on the National Aquarium piece, that I decided to expand and do other landmarks. These included Fort McHenry, the Domino’s sugar plant, the Bromo-Seltzer Tower, the B&O Railroad Museum, and the three stadiums here in Baltimore. There are definitely more landmarks and pieces of architecture that I want to capture here in Baltimore, but I am looking forward to expanding my subjects to other locations. I hope to do a series of pieces in the same style for Washington D.C., Annapolis (my state capital), places I have visited, and other sites around the world.
The third inspiration that I use quite a bit comes from nature. It can be so powerful, beautiful, and captivating. Nature itself is very broad and can encompass many things. I am constantly amazed by the beautiful colors, forms, and structures of nature. Autumn is my favorite time of year because of the rich colors, comfortable temperatures, and sense of relaxation that comes from nature’s preparation for winter. With respect to nature, I have only touched on a few areas as shown in my art projects but I am looking forward to expand into different areas. Many animals in their natural environments are very interesting to me. For example, I have always thought of birds as very peaceful and cheerful animals, so they are quite fun for me to draw. I included the Baltimore Oriole in the Beauty of Baltimore project that I mentioned earlier. However, birds are just the tip of the iceberg. Since nature is so broad, there are so many opportunities to try something new and to grow. I am working on a 100 Art Challenge project and I know that working on pieces for this challenge with respect to nature will allow me to explore its different aspects.
Another inspirational topic would have to be comics and fantasy/science fiction. As a child, I have always been fascinated by these areas. I remember watching MANY episodes of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and other similar shows with my father. I also have fond memories of watching the Star Wars films with him and my family. My father and I watched them very often (and made other members of my family sick of the series… lol). I liked to read the books, pass them off to my father, and then discuss them with him when he was finished. He took me to a comic book store for the first time, and that opened up a whole world of imagination for me. Thank you Dad! The stories in the comics were always fun, but what captured my attention even more was the art. It was always so wild and expressive. Even today, I go to a local comic book store to get a few every now and then. I am still very inspired by the fantastic artwork and stories.
Of course, there are many other things that inspire… Family, friends, events in the news, feelings, life events, music, conversations with people that I know, or things that I have read, just to name a few. I hope that in reading this that I have inspired you to be curious about art, certain subjects, or expanding your horizons.
Recently, I have been looking into branching out into other mediums. With my experience as an engineer and a teacher, I have become very interested in 3D printing. I have purchased a 3D printer for myself and have designed some items in 3D. The items that I have designed so far are more decorative and some small items that could be used around the house. I hope to be able to put my modeling skills to use and make some really interesting art pieces and functional pieces too. I have also recently begun taking some watercolor classes and have been exploring that medium as well. Why haven't I tried this medium sooner in my life?? I am really enjoying my work with it and have posted only some of my work so far. But, I look forward to posting more as I learn and explore!