For me, inspiration comes from conversation.
Obviously, galleries, travelling and so on fill my visual memory up for future regurgitation. But I find the feeling of being truly inspired comes from getting to see the familiar through fresh eyes, and conversational sparring takes me there.
Talking through projects with a like-minded colleague or pal takes my ideas and twists them in a direction I’d never take on my own – providing the (sometimes) random stimulus I need.
Talking out ideas adds an energy to my thought process that I’d never get from a blank sheet of paper. It’s that basic 2+2=5 feeling which leaves me dying to get back to my desk and sharpen my pencils.
Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies card deck offers similar stimulus: a set of slightly cryptic suggestions (such as ’emphasise differences’) you pick at random, but which must be trusted and acted upon. Eno uses them as a tool for tackling creative blocks, when the pressure of the deadline seduces you into choosing tried and tested solutions – the same default creative setting that has taken you to a creative impasse in the first place. The cards force lateral thinking, and breaking old habits is a good way to inspire yourself.