I am often asked where I get my artistic inspiration. I find that it is an awkward question to answer sometimes, so I mention some artists and writers I admire. But really, in my experience, inspiration does not happen as a direct cause-and-effect action. I am not able to 'go get inspired'. It would be more accurate to say that I do not find inspiration anywhere, but when I am in stillness it finds me.
If inspiration could be obtained by simply going out and finding it somewhere, everyone would go find it. Unfortunately, inspiration cannot be obtained on demand.
However, an open and creative mind can be available to discover loose particles of interesting things floating around in life like bits of ideas, feelings and perceptions. And because you enjoy them, you carry them around with you for awhile, like favorite rocks in a kid's pocket. Then one day you discover that some of those loose bits of life have connected themselves together in surprising ways. Then a light goes on and you say "Ah ha!" The Ah-ha! moment is when we become consciously aware of something that had already been working in us at a deeper level without us being aware of it. So the artist, in my opinion, has little to do with causing inspiration, it arises out of stillness naturally on its own.
When I have shared artist Morris Graves' statement "My first interest is in being. Along the way I am an artist." with fellow artists they sometimes misunderstand its meaning. They think he is saying that he really doesn't care about art all that much. Otherwise he would have said his first interest is in art, so he must not have been a very committed artist.
However, given his vast output of artwork it would be inaccurate to think that he was not committed. I believe in his statement he is placing the state of his consciousness ahead of the art-making process. Because he knew that art is a reflection of the artists state of consciousness. But most artists are so preoccupied with their process that they rarely step back to consider the state or quality of their consciousness from which their artwork arises. Graves called that state "being". And to be grounded in the state of pure being was to Graves a prerequisite for producing meaningful art. His interest in the subject of being and consciousness can be found in many of his works.
Patrick Howe, Artist, Author, Educator, Electronic Music Producer