When you’re running low on inspiration and feeling a bit bored, a quick trip to a museum, gallery, concert, or cultural center can easily get your creative juices flowing. What’s more, these locations can also inspire a love of art, helping visitors to appreciate all the emotion, effort, and enthusiasm that goes into every single creation. With both these ideas in mind, January 31st was dubbed Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, to honor the artists who help others with their talent and also encourage a love of art through their work. Essentially, this is the perfect day to applaud all the creative minds who infuse a bit of heart in their art, which is exactly what we’re doing with the following artists.
Urban Art Workshops for Senior Citizens by LAT 65
Urban art workshop LATA 65 utilized the art of graffiti to banish ageist stereotypes and simultaneously aimed to produce uplifting works of art. By connecting over 100 senior citizens with well-known street artists, the organization helped the older individuals exercise their imagination with stencils and street tags. They used Lisbon, Portugal’s neglected neighborhoods as the sites for their murals, transforming the ramshackle surroundings into spaces bursting with life and color. While proving that age is just a number as they motivated seniors to express themselves, LAT 65 also continues to bring joy to those who see their resulting rainbow creations.
Web Comics About Mental Illness by Gemma Correll
British illustrator Gemma Correll combines art and humor for the 1 out of every 13 people who are affected by anxiety and the 350 million people who are impacted by depression. By sourcing inspiration from her own life history, the artist creates relatable illustrations that aim to start a conversation about such mental health issues. Correll also hopes to make others feel less alone in their struggles by showing them that many others know what it’s like to deal with mental illness and that, for her, laughter has served as a wonderful form of medicine. In essence, Correll’s work demonstrates that our darkest moments can be transformed into something as engaging as her comical illustrations.
The Tutu Project by Bob Carey
In 2003, after a move to the East Coast, Bob Carey started The Tutu Project as a way of mixing his old life with new, using a little pink frill. Six months after settling into the new place, his wife, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, Carey has dedicated his photography to raising money for the disease and taking pictures of himself wearing nothing but the tutu. The absurd situations feature him in the snow, among farm animals, in the middle of Times Square, and much more.
Inspirational Illustrations by Scotty Russell
Scotty Russell, also known as Perspective-Collective, proves that sometimes it doesn’t take extravagant distractions to re-focus and cheer up. By combining short, uplifting sayings with equally simple illustrations, Russell’s artwork is minimally optimistic and surprisingly effective. An illustrative lettering motivation coach from Iowa, Russell aims to motivate people to achieve their aspirations and push his audience towards self-fulfillment. His light-hearted doodles may be just the spark one needs to “Stop waiting, and start creating.”
Paintings by Jon Masters
Jon Masters‘s story is truly an inspiration for anyone who is experiencing a tough time in their life. A self-taught artist, Masters fell on hard times and lost his home and all his possessions. Taking to the streets with nothing but a sign that read “Just Need a Little Help,” and his muse and companion Sheba the dog, he used money donated to him to purchase art supplies that he uses to create gifted paintings. He sells his beautiful creations on the street, and has even started to work with other homeless artists who were inspired by his innovation and artistic passion. Known as the Homeless Artist, Master’s has upgraded from a cardboard sign, and now operates using a website where he coordinates classes, teaching new generations of artists to create, no matter what obstacles life has thrown.
“I’m a firm believer that nothing bad ever happens, even though it really looks like crap,” Masters told USA Today. “Just not enough time has gone by to see what the good is going to be.”
Passion-Fueled Quilling by Sena Runa
Istanbul-based artist Sena Runa shows us that following your heart can completely change your life. Three years ago, she was searching for a hobby and came across paper quilling. After learning about it and perfecting her technique, she began expressing the world through this colorful, whimsical craft. Now, it’s no longer just a hobby–Runa eventually left her job as an HR Specialist in order to pursue her passion for paper quilling as a full-time profession. “Everything you create could be art, so if you believe that you make beautiful things, then you’ll see that everyone will agree,” she tells us in an interview. “I am new in the art career, sometimes I feel scared and sometimes I don’t. I just believe in what I do and I know I’ll continue to create in the future.”
Cosplay Portraits by Alice and Kelly Lewis
Superwoman one day, Joan of Arc the next, 10-year-old Alice Lewis constantly transforms herself through the amazing art of cosplay. Her metamorphoses are documented by her mother, photographer Kelly Lewis, who encourages Alice to explore her identity through this creative passion of hers. When the young girl was adopted by the Lewis family three years ago, she decided to change her name to Alice (after the titular character from Lewis Carroll’s books) as a way to reinvent herself on her own terms. After six years of abuse, neglect, and bouncing around foster homes, Alice finally found her forever family–her very own wonderland.
Warde by HQ Architects
The Warde project, located Jerusalem’s Vallero Square, is an artistic and responsive public display designed by HQ Architects. The massive urban flowers react to the motion of passersby, opening their vibrant petals and “blooming” into billowing canopies. Creators of the project wanted to achieve a dynamic installation that worked in harmony with visitors of the bustling plaza. The towering motion-activated sculptures prompted the public to figuratively stop and smell the flowers, inspiring an appreciation for the beauty in life’s little (and really big) things, including the arts.
Giant 209-Home Mural by Germen Crew
The power of youth helped transform the Palmitas district in Pachuca, Mexico from an ordinary neighborhood into a vibrant sprawling mural. Known as Germen Crew, this organization joined forces with the Mexican government to paint the surfaces of over 209 houses. The massive project encompassed 20 thousand square meters and used bright, marbled colors to visually connect the buildings. More than just a beautification effort, however, this project was also a tool for social transformation–it created jobs and 452 families benefited from the exterior painting. In addition, the community was directly involved in making the mural happen: Germen Crew got to know the residents and planned workshops, resulting in a positive energy around Palmitas.
Paintings by Jeffrey Hanson
Kansas-based artist Jeffrey Hanson is changing the world for the better, one gorgeous painting at a time. Although legally blind, the 22-year-old painter has created over 1,400 colorful, texturally-rich works of art, many of which have been sold or donated for philanthropic causes. This February, Hanson will add to the $1 million he’s already raised for charity with Art From the Heart, a Valentine’s Day project that will give one charity a painting for a live auction fundraiser.
Flower House by Lisa Waud
In October 2015, one dilapidated house in Detroit was transformed into a breathtaking floral wonderland when a team of florists filled the abandoned building with 60,000 to 100,000 flowers. Titled Flower House, the project was created by floral design business Pot & Box owner Lisa Waud as a way to inspire awe and joy, engage florists in innovative art, explore sustainability, and pay tribute to Detroit’s history.
“All the flowers were donated and the neighborhood will now be free of two houses that have been vacant, crumbling, and dangerous,” Flower House photographer and media coordinator Heather Saunders commented last year. “The team that we have partnered with will be bringing the houses down while offering job training in deconstruction, salvage and project management to jobless/homeless individuals. We will pay them to deconstruct our art project. We can’t save the world, but we can make a part of it more beautiful for a short time and then offer the land back to mother nature.”