“Inspiration is that unexpected moment of discovery when the mind leaps to a new place triggered by something interesting. That something interesting can be a thing you’ve read, or seen on the street, or in a book or gallery, or a piece of music, or something really great or something really awful. For me it is often unrelated to my work and is completely unpredictable. Influence is when you see something you like, usually work that is related to the work you do, and you absorb whatever it is you like about it and either consciously or subconsciously emulate it or somehow incorporate something of it into your own work. Reference material is when you look at something specific and try to make something like that.” So says Marian Bantjes, a former typographer and graphic designer who now describes herself as a graphic artist. And in her view, a designer follows strategy whereas an artist follows her heart and her ego.
Bantjes has an impressive portfolio of illustration that has appeared in numerous publications and unexpected places. Earlier this year she was invited to give a TED talk, a few hours after Bill Gates, which must have been awesome for an art school dropout. Well, come to think of it Bill was also a college dropout. Bantjes believes that working in the commercial sphere is quite important because many more people get to see your work. Additionally, “Truly imaginative, visual work is extremely important in society,” she says. Art can inspire scientists and novelists and it can start conversations. It sows the seeds of imagination in the general populace. “A fully operating, rich society needs these seeds, coming from all directions and all disciplines in order to keep the gears of inspiration and imagination flowing and growing.” Enough said!
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