Pinterest has become a popular platform to search for and save ideas. But it’s actually a little bit more than that. Pinterest is not only a visual search engine, it is the perfect platform to organize visual information for free. It is ideal for helping artists who have already settled on their medium of choice but are struggling to develop a body of work that is aligned with their artistic values.
This article is not to suggest that you should search for other artists work on Pinterest that you can copy and call your own. No, not at all. In fact, you will not be looking for or at art during this process.
Here’s How to Get Started
First, if you don’t already have a Pinterest account, head over to Pinterest.com and set one up. If you already have an account, go ahead and login. Next, create new pinning boards with the following titles: people, places, memories, beliefs, color palettes, textures, and compositions.
Now you’re ready to do the treasure hunting. Find and pin At least 20 images in each of the categories. Keep in mind that none of the pins should art work-yours nor anyone else’s. Nor should they be about how to make artwork.
You are not searching for art here. You are searching only for images and ideas that you find interesting.
As you are working on these boards, keep it light and easy. Do not self edit. If a picture of a person or place is interesting to you, go ahead and pin it to your boards without thinking about why.
If you come across an image and you resonate with the colors in it, put it in possible color palettes. Likewise, if you find images that you think have a great composition, pin them. Don’t worry about whether or not they represent your usual subject matter.
The memories and beliefs categories are a little more vague. As you are scrolling through Pinterest, if you come across an image that evokes a strong memory, go ahead and save it. It doesn’t have to be a good memory, it just has to be strong. The same is true for the belief category. If you come across a quote that sparks the feeling of deep truth, make sure to save it.
After you have at least 20 pins in each category, check to see if you notice any patterns emerging. Are you attracted to strong or muted colors? Are any themes developing? Have memories of an important time in your life been triggered?
As patterns emerge, start to weave a story between the various elements. The goal is to find the connection between the elements. If you find that 20 pins is not enough, keep going, Not all pins in every board will be connected, but some preferences may begin to emerge that are worth exploring.
For example, one artist may notice that she is currently attracted to earthy tones, crowds of people, rivers and streams, and quotes about relationships. The challenge then, is for this artist to weave these elements together into a composition. It is important to build a meaningful and personal narrative around the emerging elements. The artist must explore why she is attracted to crowds, the running water, and relationships. It is this exploration that will result in authentic and meaningful finished artwork.
As another example, an artist may find they are attracted to saturated primary colors, repeating pattern, and portraits of people relaxing. This artist might choose to embark on a series of portrait paintings in which portions of the subjects are depicted in a cobalt blue China pattern from her mothers wedding set. The artist’s emerging narrative may be about exploring how people repeat the same patterns from one generation to the next.
If you are having a difficult time identifying the patterns that are emerging in your Pinterest boards, invite a friend to take a look and comment. Sometimes the people close to us can see patterns and storylines that we overlook. Hopefully, using the Pinterest board exploration method will help you identify those patterns, reconnect you to interesting narratives, and put you on an art making path that is truly unique to you.