Research Report: A (Brush)Stroke Of Genius: Artists Share What Inspires Them

Research Report: A (Brush)Stroke Of Genius: Artists Share What Inspires Them

In 2012, Blick commissioned two surveys to better understand what inspires artists. The first survey specifically targeted 500 artists; the second survey sought feedback from 1,000 Americans, both male and female. The surveys revealed that:

  • When it comes to art, inspiration - or the quest to find it - is a perspiration-producing exercise for three out of four artists (76 percent).
  • According to 97 percent of Americans, it's important for schools to inspire young artists.

"Whether they're professionals, amateurs, students, or hobbyists, artists are always seeking inspiration for their next project," says Lori Stufflebeem, director of marketing, Blick Art Materials. "At Blick, we understand this and are dedicated to providing them with fresh ideas."

Inside the Mind of an Artist

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of artists surveyed confessed that the difficulty with inspiration is its tendency to come in waves. So, what do they do? One-third (32 percent) habitually monitor their surroundings in an attempt to "ignite that spark," one in five (23 percent) hunt for thought-provoking perspectives, and a lucky 16 percent don't find inspiration at all - it finds them.

This was a confident bunch! When asked about their artistic ability, only one-fifth of the artists surveyed (21 percent) doubted their competence. Talent aside, three-fourths (74 percent) agreed that "a good artist" is one who is defined by personal satisfaction. This introspective focus translates to the people artists hope to inspire. Two out of five artists (41 percent) pursue their craft for themselves, while 34 percent "aim to please everyone," 18 percent concentrate on pleasing their family and friends, and six percent hope to win respect from other artists.

The best thing about being an artist was revealed as having a creative outlet (29 percent) and following one's passion (28 percent). The hardest thing? Making time for one's craft (35 percent) and getting paid for one's work (15 percent).

Blick's "Inspiration Series"

Today, Blick announces "Inspiration Series," a series of events designed to connect artists with experts and ideas to motivate their next masterpiece.

The inaugural event will be a Facebook Chat tonight, entitled "The Blank Canvas." Renowned professional artist Lori McNee will host an honest discussion about inspiration, creativity, and how stepping outside the familiar is often the best strategy for moving a project from mind to medium. Blick expects a robust turnout for the event, since 82 percent of the artists the company surveyed said they would join an online chat hosted by an expert they admired, and nearly one-half (47 percent) said they visit Facebook frequently for inspiration.

Thirty-nine percent and thirty-six percent of these artists, respectively, also reported that practice and trying new things are the best ways to improve creativity. Almost every artist surveyed (98 percent) is open to exploring new techniques and materials with a bit of direction. In fact, when asked what inspires them, artists ranked "discovering new methods" higher than music, friends, and travel.

That's why the next chapter of "Inspiration Series" events will take place throughout February and March 2013 at selected Blick stores where artists will gather to collaborate on unconventional projects that define the essence of their city. Blick will host the works in a gallery at and, for every Facebook "Like" generated, will donate $.50 (up to $5,000) to Art Room Aid, the program created by Blick to inspire tomorrow's artists by helping art educators get the funding they need.