Sometimes inspiration comes from a spark within. More often, it is ignited by another soul that is glowing with courageous and beautiful truth. Something will speak to my heart in its native language, causing it to be filled to the brim with joy and longing.
Sabrina Ward Harrison is one of those souls.
I came across her art through a friend in college. I was at her apartment one evening and happened to glance at the books she had scattered on her coffee table. Opening up the pages, I saw this gloriously messy writing scrawled out gracefully onto photos and scribbles, paintings and doodles. Thoughts and quotes that put into words things my heart had felt but never been able to express. (What is it about seeing another soul express that which we feel in the deepest places? There is always this flood of giddy relief: Oh my! I am not alone after all!)
I fell in love with the way that Sabrina wove together her raw and unedited musings with a melange of art mediums. Her book, Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself, often became my muse as I started to do more and more art in college. Her bold messiness and honest vulnerability inspired my own breaking free from the mask of attempted perfection.
Sometimes, the inner critic sneers that my creations are not valid. I am an impostor: a copycat artist. I can’t really claim my art as my own, as I often use other people’s illustrations in a collage or as a reference for my own. To which I reply, defiantly in the face of those self-doubting moments:
“You are art. You are a living breathing perfect example of art. You are color, light, form, words, song, sound. You are a unique, ever growing ever changing masterpiece. Let go of expectations— in yourself, in others, in plans— rules to be followed and a standard to live by. Rather live in a state of expectancy— joyfully watching for beauty to come.”
I just came across this written in a journal of mine from a couple of years ago. Honestly, I don’t know if this was my own thought or a quote, but I loved it. It is such a beautiful perspective. Allowing the inspiration around us to enter in and change us truly makes our “very flesh into a poem,” as Walt Whitman would say.
So who is it that inspires you?