Got Inspiration in the Gallery?

Patricia Piccinini - The Stags (2008)

Patricia Piccinini - The Stags (2008)

Inspiring! Some of these should not be reserved just for writers. My favorite technique is to sit in the gallery on a bench and watch people’s reaction to a painting as they stare up at it. You can capture many more viewpoints than you’d ever dream up yourself.

From 15 Ways Modern Art Galleries Can Inspire Writers by Joanna Penn on September 2, 2009
Tate Modern, London

I love modern art galleries and go to them whenever I am in a large city. I find they spark creative ideas and I leave feeling refreshed and ready to write more! Here are 15 ways Modern Art Galleries can inspire writers and authors.

  • Writing Exercise: Sit before a piece of art and describe the piece and what it says to you. Modern art is fantastic because you can’t just say “It’s a portrait of a young woman with a dog”. Often the pieces are entirely based on your interpretation.
  • Use as a setting in your novel. Describe the physical details of the place, the various rooms, how you could use them. Would your characters meet here in the vast white open space of the main hall? or in one of the obscure video dark rooms?
  • Write notes from the display description. Copy down phrases that touch you in some way. What images are conjured up?
  • Free associate from one of the pieces. Just write down all the words that come to mind. Do it in a mind map format.
  • Listen for dialogue. Sit in the lobby or a public area and listen for snatches of conversation. Write notes on what you hear.
  • Browse the giftshop for marketing ideas. Can you use some of these ideas in your own marketing?
  • Use it as your Artists Date. An Artist’s Date is time out to refill our creative wells and allow new ideas to surface and spark.
  • Change your writing scene. Buy a coffee in the Gallery cafe and sit and write for an hour.
  • Use it as a venue for a meeting with another author.
  • Understand the Body of Work. This book we are working on is one piece of a whole lifetime, a whole body of work embracing all we are and all we want to express in the written word.
  • Research one of the Artists for a character sketch. Google them and use this for a character sketch.
  • Research one of the Artists and evaluate their online presence. Do they use multi-media? Do they blog?
  • Use your visit to inspire a blog post.
  • Be silly. I did tracings on coloured paper with crayons on one exhibit.

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