From the Design Desk: Creative Communities Outside and Online

Not all inspiration comes from within. In fact, the more art, design, and crafts I see, the more jazzed I feel to make and create. In addition to my local galleries and independent bookstores, friends, and colleagues, I keep going back to a handful of online sites for inspiration. Like a nosy neighbor, I’m curious about, er, my creative community.

Little Red Riding Hood, by Amy Earles (jointed paper doll set/print with 10 silver brads) via Etsy

For instance, Rare Device, a store/gallery in San Francisco, curated by artist Lisa Congdon, has a great rotation of artist shows, like the current Sleep Walk: New Work by Amy Earles and cool books and rare design products, like a notebook from Portugal, of bound paper napkins! Through their site I can checkout new shows, and on their blog I can read about Lisa’s cool findings and creative endeavors.

Disrepair by Zachary Rossman via Park Life

Or take the gallery/store Park Life. It’s in a neighborhood far from mine, but their website allows me to dive in and dive out of their constant rotation of inspiring art shows. And like Rare Device, their blog is great about giving exposure to exciting artists and alerting people of other neat art shows going on in the city.

My First Piano Print by Christina Vantzou via Little Paper Planes

Little Paper Planes, an online gallery and marketplace for artists, just had their first art show in a physical location, at the Tinlark Gallery in Hollywood. I’d love to get out there if I could, but for now I dig checking out their new artists or “old” regulars with new work. And I love reading the blog and reading about other artists, art shows and even stuff like the new California Academy of Sciences!

Photo by cjmeinke on Flickr via Etsy

Some people may scoff at the idea of “online community,” but I find the creative, art, design, and craft online communities to be inspiring, kind, and helpful. The more my web community grows, the more I want to get out there, explore, and see. Creativity breeds creativity no matter where you can get it.

Check out Etsy’s Community Building hub. And there seems to be a Flickr creative community for all your crafty loves: gocco, printmaking, collage, art books, and more.

My first attempt to print gocco by ninainvorm via Flickr

There are a bunch of other sites worth mentioning (though I can’t possibly mention them all). Some of my favorites are: Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Jen Bekman, Fecal Face, and Poppy Talk. Please comment with your favorites. I hear Brooklyn, Chicago, Philly, and Portland are creative hot spots on fire!

Suzanne LaGasa

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