Art is a Lifestyle, so Ride the Wild
Presented by SoBe
Where does inspiration come from? Can you go looking for it, or do you have to wait for it to strike? Everyone has a different method to find their inspiration, and different things inspire different people. But when you look at an artist—a real, true and authentic artist—one thing becomes clear: they never stop looking.
What we do as graffiti writers, street artists, photographers, illustrators and artists in general is a lifestyle. It is a state of mind and being. It’s not a switch that can be flipped on and off, but rather a way to interpret the world. When people discuss the artist’s lens, it’s very much a literal thing. The way that an artist views the world is then imposed on the artwork. Art is the world through the artist’s eyes.
Of course, every artist does this differently. That’s what makes each of them unique. Even though thousands of people have painted graffiti—a fairly constraining letter-based art form—people continue to innovate. The way that different artists are able to shape, twist and morph letters into unique interpretations never ceases to amaze. That’s because each of those artists is unique, and lives a unique life.
Artists are always on the lookout for what inspires them. But it’s not necessarily a search, it’s simply about staying open to new ideas and opportunities. It’s always being up for an adventure. It’s staying up late, or going to bed early, whatever feels right at the moment. It’s seeing a wall as a canvas, rather than a barrier, and the streets as a playground, rather than a space for cars alone.
SOBE A.R.T. (Artist in Residency Team) recently put together a lineup of artists that understand exactly how this lifestyle works in person. They each live in a way that clearly informs, and is informed by their art. Melly Lee is a photographer, and while she may not specialize in street photography, you can guarantee that you’ll find her snapping pics out in public, gathering ideas for what may be her next photo shoot. Even Elton Castee, another artist on their list who is considered an “online video personality,” demonstrates this lifestyle. He has essentially turned his life into one giant performance art piece that is followed by tens of thousands of people. Just because the camera isn’t rolling, or he’s not in the studio, doesn’t mean he can’t still be creating with everything he does.
Illustrator Nick Sawyers embodies this lifestyle in a way we can relate to. He’s the type of dude that is always drawing wherever he goes. From BMX biking, to off-road trucking, to just hanging out living the California lifestyle and snapping pics, it’s a “grab life by the horns and ride it” kind of approach. His illustrations reflect this mentality. He recently ran a contest soliciting drawing suggestions from his followers, and then gave away the drawing that same day. It was a very unfiltered and pure form of expression that we can get down with.
This way of looking at life doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That’s what sets artists apart, and what draws us to the work they create. But, you can aim to shake things up every once in a while, and step outside your comfort zone. Just because you wear a suit and tie to work, or spend eight hours a day in a cubicle, doesn’t mean you can’t find your creative spirit in other ways. You don’t have to go and change your life completely, or commit to anything permanently, but give spontaneity a chance every once and while, and you’ll reap the rewards of a more inspired lifestyle.
So here’s our call to all of you out there reading this. Raise the bar for challenging yourself. Try new things. Mix it up in new and original ways. Walk out to the nose of the board and ride that wave until you fall off, then get up and try it again and again. That is what SOBE A.R.T. (ARTIST IN RESIDENCY TEAM) is all about. Break the norm and reach outside your comfort zone. You never know until you try it, and it may just be your flavor.