Digging for Inspiration: A Guest Post by Connie Hozvicka, Dirty Footprints Studio

September 8th, 2009

The best way to have a constant stream of inspiration is to look at your life like an Archaeologist. If you fall short on ideas to attack the next canvas with, or the paper in your art journal looks daunting...start digging through your own life for inspiration.

What gets you jazzed?

It could be something as simple as a combination of colors you saw when you were window shopping at the mall--to something as deep as your ancestry, your culture, your home, your own personal history. But, if for some reason, all the Creative Juiciness of your own life fails your imagination...I say really become an Archaeologist and start digging through other people’s junk!!!

connie santa

At least once a month I treat myself with an Artist date to the thrift store. I bring my camera, $20 bucks, and a complete openess that anything could happen!

connie pink

What I find is always a surprise. Like seriously, as fabulous as those panties are--would you wear used panties?!?! Especially hot pink ruffled ones!! Who knows where those frills have been?!?! But this photo alone is enough juiciness for creativity!! Think of the stories you could write...the fun you could have in the Art Journal...the risky business you could create with a painting inspired by that photo above!!

Do you get what I’m digging at? Inspiration is everywhere...especially hidden in other people’s junk! Even the unmentionables!

connie tv

I get lost in the patterns I find at Thrift Stores. Look at this photo!!! I couldn’t take my eyes off the mesmerizing repetition those television screens created. If you go deeper..think of the metaphors of that many rejected televisions sitting there...still working...but not as pretty and slender as those new flat screens that are all the rave! Next thing you know you’re making a statement about society..about women’s issues...about your own life possibly--all found in a pile of lonely tvs! That’s Art babey!! Forget waiting for inspiration to hit you...instead it’s waiting for you to come visit!!

connie boots

I love the bold, the tacky, the kitsch, that lives at thrift stores. I was obsessed with these boots...that could only fit a 12 year old pageant tween, but still, I love how they sat there all snuggled between coffee cups!! What a weird and wonderful world a thrift store can be! A perfect breeding ground for inspiration.

connie bunny

Last, you never know who you could run into at a thrift store!! Recently I met a gorgeous couple at my local Goodwill that looked like they walked straight out of Venice Beach from the 1960’s!! Plus, chilling in a basket inside their shopping cart was their furry bunny child Ruby!! How Creative Juicy is that?!!?

connie jeans

So the next time you’re whining about a lack of inspiration...hit a garage sale or cruise a local thrift store!!! But don’t go looking for bargains...instead, think of yourself as an Archaeologist...one that digs through the unloved, unwanted, discarded parts of this world..and excavates beauty, inspiration, and pure Creative Juicy fun!! Plus, you might get lucky and find a pair of hot pink cowboy boots in your size!


Connie Hozvicka is passionate about creativity and has spent the last fifteen years inspiring others to dive deeper into their own creative juices. She has a BA in both Painting and Art History, and is a licensed Art Educator, with a vast experience of nurturing Artists of all skill levels, abilities, and backgrounds. Her own Art work has been exhibited in galleries nationally, published in various publications, and collected internationally. Connie shares her Creative Juicy Life on her blog DirtyFootprints-Studio.com, hosts an internet radio show on everything Creative and Juicy called Creative Juicy Life, teaches Art full-time in a public K-8 school, paints like a mad-chica every second she can, and joyfully soaks in the sun in Phoenix, Arizona. You can join her for some inspirational digging as well, at the upcoming Creative Dig Workshop in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, September 26th.

12 Responses

This was a great guest post, Leah ! Oh how I dream of finding that pair of pink (or in my case purple) cowboy boots in my size ! This weekend at the flea market, all I found was a pile of old magazines on a table marked “All For Free”. This worked out well as I was looking for new images to bring with me to Squam for some of my workshops there and these mags, while a little musty, have just the kind of thing I was looking for – inspiration ! I just know those boots are out there somewhere …
Have a great week !

What a delightful read! I’ve been going to thrift stores for years and have always enjoyed looking at all the cool junque offered up. Your slant on using it for inspiration is brilliant! Next trip, I’ll take my camera for sure. Love the pics you took! Very cool post!

Nina in San Diego

You have most certainly inspired a visit to Goodwill, that’s for sure!

(By the way, my daughter used to have those boots…. )

Oh! You caught me again!! It is true that the thrift store is an awesome place for an artists date. I seriously want those boots! Ridiculous! How lucky you were to meet the couple with the bunny. What a rich life…Yes?

I’m not a big shopping person, actually buy more online. But I do occasionally go visual shopping— which for me is very much like what Connie describes here. I’m looking for ideas not things to buy. Glad I’m not alone. Now that I’m reading this, I find I do it buy myself and don’t talk about it. Silly!

Awesome. Great post Connie. Thanks for hosting, Leah. I love thrift stores. Lovelovelove, even if I am allergic to the mold or dust or something and come out of an extended dig feeling sick. Such a tragedy in my life.

Another good place for that kind of digging? Estate sales. Amazing to get a peek into somebody’s well-lived life.

Ruby is fifteen kinds of awesome. And I totally agree with you on the used panties. But I do love some hot pink ruffles all the same. ;)

Connie, I want to go thrift shopping with you!!!! :)

Love it…..I’ll be taking my camera and some pocket change to the local second-hand shop–what inspiration! Thanks.

We have to remember to open our eyes and look around us, each minute of each day, and to live in the moment. Observe.

Thanks Connie and Leah, for urging us to create expeditions outside of our own little worlds for further inspiration.

Ooh I will never look at a thrift store in the same way again. Thanks for the eye opener.


Wonderful post! I enjoyed seeing all the pictures captured from your adventures at the thrift store. Especially the bunny pic, just goes to show how you never know what you’ll see!

I recently went on an artist date at an antique store by complete chance when looking for props for my Asian goddess photo shoot. While I didn’t end up getting anything, it was definitely a good artist date and I ended up taking a couple inspiring pictures with my camera phone.

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