"Perseverance & Resilience"

by Sam Kaufmann

I think inspiration can come from anything. When you feel something so strongly that you have to draw it out or illustrate it in some way. Or when you hear a song and immediately an entire story plays out in your head that you just have to tell. It can come from things you come across while hiking in nature, or from seeing some else’s art, playing a videogame, watching a movie, literally anything can awaken that little seed of endless possibilities in your brain space.

For this pair of paintings, the inspiration came from personal experience and my own feelings. Which is not a source I use very often as a base for my own work. For me, creating is escapism. A way to take a break from the struggles of real life, and transport myself to a different realm where I can focus on other things. Sometimes, however, there are feelings that are so strong and they’re happening all at once, and the only way to properly deal with them, is to create with or about them.

These illustrations were done in early 2021. I probably don’t need to explain what a horrible year the previous had been, and it had hit me quite hard. Hanging on to positive feelings like motivation and determination can be very hard when life kicks you in the gut, so I wanted to make something that would remind me of what I’m capable of.
At that time, I had just finished a big digital illustration, with a whole heap of details, light, and shading, and it had drained me a little. It always really helps me to change things up when I get a bit stuck, so I grabbed my paints and started something new. With very flat, bright contrasting colors and thick lines. This really got me back into the zone and that’s why I decided to paint these illustrations that way. I was also a little obsessed with medieval tapestries at that moment, so I wanted to include elements reminiscent of those. The symmetry, banners, flames, and flowers really helped carry the tapestry vibe.

I went with the words ‘resilience’ and ‘perseverance’ (instead of just ‘determination’ or ‘motivation’), because they sound like strong, courageous words to me. And that’s what I wanted to feel when looking at these paintings. At first, I made these as a reminder for myself, but once I shared them online, I received a lot of messages from people that felt the same. The paintings really spoke to them and evoked the exact feelings I had hoped they would do.
Inspiration can come from anything. And the great thing about being inspired by something is when whatever you create with it, can serve as inspiration for someone else.

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