Where do ideas come from?
New ideas come from past ideas. Combined, chewed up, and reformed.
We are all made up of past experiences and beliefs. That makes each one of us unique, all creating from different places in our lives. Building on past ideas is how we explore and grow as artists. I think that is why a lot of artists work in series. You start with an idea for the first piece and when the work is done a new idea pops in that will bring you to the next piece and the next. It is setting up rules to work within and explore from there. For instance, what material to use? How big should it be? Should it be figurative or abstract? That sort of thing. These are decisions we make all the time without really thinking about them. The "anything goes" attitude with art can be overwhelming with too many directions to go in. I find I personally have to set limits or rules to work with.
I had a professor who painted the same still life over and over again for years. At the time (a lot younger) I couldn’t see how it could keep his interest in the subject. But as I got older I realized the previous pieces were a springboard to the next painting. Changing the color, playing with the light, looking for a different way to view the still life that was his play and challenge. And I admire that in his work ethic and his exploration. For me art making is exploring, both physically and mentally
Discovery is different. You can set up Ideas to make a discovery. A friend patron of mine works at the FRIB at MSU. He smashes electrons together in an isotope beam. I asked him what he was hoping to make with all of his machines. He said he wasn’t making anything, he just wanted to see what happened. Art making can be like that. You put ideas together to see what happens.
I hope the piece I am working on inspires the next one.