Artistic inspiration found through dance instructor

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By Michaela O’Malley / Special to Viewpoints

Noticing the world (Michaela O’Malley / Special to Viewpoints)

By Michaela O’Malley / Special to Viewpoints

The process of finding inspiration for a work of art can be the most difficult task for any artists.

It is finding that one item, person, people or event that will turn on the light bulb in the artists’ head.

Robin Ybarra, a Riverside student who attends Otis College of Art and Design, majoring in Fine Arts, specifically painting, said that she always knew she was an artist.

“What if I told you that art is simply observing? Art is just noticing the world around you,” Ybarra said.

She uses this quote for inspiration when trying to find ideas for new art projects.

Ybarra used the concept of observation when she attended the dance class of RCC Dance Associate Professor, Mark Haines’ to photograph dancers for her photography class.

“I wanted to capture the body in its most organic forms and moments,” Ybarra said.

“I went in there taking pictures for a photo class and it inspired me to create sculpture which is not what I intended to do,” Ybarra said.

“So, I think it inspired me in sculpture more than photography which was my original idea,” she continued.

Ybarra was not surprised by being inspired by another type of artist than those that surround her at school.

“I like to get inspiration from all forms of art and from people you least expect,” she said.

“Professional artists or people who just consider themselves as Sunday painters.”

Haines was also not surprised by Ybarra’s inspiration from the movement.

“Of course I am flattered, but now wholly surprised,” Haines said.

“Although I can only speak for myself, I think most artists can find inspiration in other artists’ work,”  he said. “I have a rather large collection of art books at home that I look through all the time for inspiration.”

He stated that he often finds inspiration from sculpture, paintings, and especially photography.

As Ybarra watched the class, she found a common ground with the dancers when she related her painting process to the dancer’s movement.

“When I paint, I paint big,” she said. “When you paint big a lot of your body goes into that. You are painting with your whole body.”

She said its literally “putting yourself into the painting, stepping on the canvas, working all around it.”

She found the similarites between movements involved in  painting and dancing intriguing.

“I figured dance being obviously based on movement would reflect how you would approach a painting in a way. When I saw it, I fell in love with it,” Ybarra said.

Haines was a little surprised as to how Ybarra connected with the process because the piece Haines is currently working on was unfinished at the time.

“I think that she, as an artist herself, intrinsically understands the importance of the process when creating a new work and found it interesting to see the dancers and myself go through the trails and tribulations of ‘trying things out,'” Haines said.

Although the process of creating pieces of art can be similar for most artists Haines pointed out thadance is different.

“Dance is a social event — it requires other humans to make it work, whereas, sculpture or painting only requires the artist and the materials needed to make the art,” Haines said.

Haines feels the difference between the process of painting and dance is what may have intrigued Ybarra.

With both artists intrigued in each other’s work, shouldn’t this call for collaboration?   

“It might be fun to work with someone like Robin on a dance piece,” Haines said.
“I think visual artists are natural organizers,” he continued.

“They seem to know where to put things in space which is not always true for choreographers,” noted Haines.

He said that they also “tend to be good at movement creation as opposed to movement placement.”

To many people, it seems that artists always find inspiration from things around them not having to do with art. 

But what the artists are really looking for is hanging right next to them, dancing right next to them or creating right next to them.

Whether it be a photograph, a song, a piece of art or a compelling person.

Inspiration, artists say, is everywhere.

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