Five Ways To Get Artistic Inspiration From Music

2015 Artwork Artistic Inspiration from music article sketch

As regular readers of this site probably know, I worked on a short series of punk-themed paintings almost two weeks ago. In fact, here’s one of them:

"Drunk Punk Zombies On Aberystwyth Coast" By C. A. Brown

“Drunk Punk Zombies On Aberystwyth Coast” By C. A. Brown

Although I made another short series of gothic paintings beforehand, this punk art series was one of the first times in a while that I’ve made art that was inspired by music.

So, for today, I thought I’d give you a few tips on how to make art inspired by some of your favourite songs or bands:

1) Listen: This is probably the most obvious piece of advice on this list but, before you make any musically-inspired art, you should listen to a fair amount of music in the genre that you want to be inspired by and/or by the musicians you want to be inspired by.

If it currently seems like the coolest music in the world to you, then that’s a good sign that you’ll be enthusiastic enough about it to want to make art inspired by it. If it doesn’t seem that interesting, then look for another musician or genre of music to be inspired by.

2) Soundtracks and imagination:
One of the easiest ways to be inspired by music is to just start daydreaming when you listen to the music you want to be inspired by.

Basically, just try to imagine something that either sums up the entire song in a single image or try to think of an interesting scene that would go really well with the music (eg: the music should be the “soundtrack” to this scene, like in a TV show or a movie).

Once you’ve thought of this, then just make a drawing or painting of it. It’s as simple as that.

3) Subcultures: One of the best ways to create things that evoke the type of music you’re listening to is to look at everything else that has already been inspired by this type of music. Look at album covers, look at fashions associated with this type of music and look at music videos. I’m sure you get the idea.

Whilst you shouldn’t directly copy any of these things, seeing lots of other things that have been inspired by similar music to the type that you want to be inspired by can point you in the right direction when it comes to coming up with your own artistic ideas.

4) Memories: If you’re anything like me, you’ve got something of a musical memory. In other words, certain songs can end up being strongly associated with particular times in my life.

This is usually because I’ve been listening to a certain song a lot during one part of my life, but sometimes it can happen if a song just “reminds” me of part of my life (even if I didn’t listen to it back then).

So, if you have a memory like this, then one of the easiest ways to make musically-inspired art is just to paint or draw whichever memories a particular song evokes in you.

For example, my painting “Days Of The Angel” (inspired by “Days Of The Phoenix” by AFI) was based on my memories of spending quite a few nights in an absolutely amazing pub/nightclub in Aberystwyth called “The Angel”:

"Days Of The Angel" By C. A. Brown

“Days Of The Angel” By C. A. Brown

5) Originality And Meaning: The most important thing when making musically-inspired art is to be original and to be meaningful. In other words, you need to be true to your own imagination. You need to make sure that your artwork is a reflection of your own interpretation of a song, rather than anyone else’s.

For example, the song “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones is often associated with the sixties, the Vietnam war etc… in the popular media. But, to me (thanks to the excellent cover of the song by The Sisters Of Mercy), it’ll always be associated with Aberystwyth in the late 00s and the fiction and art that I made back then.

Likewise, when I made my recent punk art series, I’d originally planned to set the paintings in California (since this is where many of my favourite punk bands come from). But, since I’ve never actually been to America, let alone California – I eventually decided that the paintings would be more meaningful if I set them in one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. Hence why they’re set in Aberystwyth, rather than California.

So, stay true to your own imagination and you’ll produce more unique art as a result.

————-

Anyway, I hope that this was useful šŸ™‚

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2 comments on “Five Ways To Get Artistic Inspiration From Music

  1. lewism4 says:

    Interesting stuff. I’ve often used music in creative writing even if it is in the background more than using it overtly. I’ve found Nick Cave and Sisters of Mercy to be particularly effective, so Goth is a big thing for me. Love the artworks too.

    • pekoeblaze says:

      Glad to hear that you found the article interesting šŸ™‚ Although I’m more of an artist than a writer these days, I totally understand what you mean about music being a great source of background inspiration/ background details for fiction.

      Surprisingly, I haven’t really heard that many Nick Cave songs (the only one I can think of is “Tupelo”), although the Sisters Of Mercy are absolutely brilliant though šŸ™‚

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