I am often asked where my inspiration comes from, what inspires me?
The short answer: anywhere, anything, and everything.
You see, first of all, I don't separate my inspirations out per genre. There is no "this is for visual art" and "this is for dance" and "this is for writing." Rather, what I work on in my art often influences my dancing, and vice versa (as evidenced by the Baladi series, which I started to make when I first started bellydancing.)
What I don't do though, is look for inspiration in the same genre or media I'm looking for. Meaning I don't specifically seek out the work of printmakers or bellydancers to use as a starting point for my work. I often get invigorated to make new work after going to a festival or gallery, but the drive to make work does not correlate with what inspires me to make it. I DO look into the work of parallel categories - such as sculpture or weaving, or historical dance to find inklings of an ideas - from a color palette to a sense of movement. But more often than not, my inspiration starts on a whole other plane of existence. It can be from a piece of jewelry, a song, a movie, an old photo, a design on a rug, a myth, a situation in my life, a pattern on the ceiling, a random comment - seriously anywhere. I collect images online and physically and keep them in folders that I can look at. If something catches my eye, I save it, no matter what. It may not be what I'm looking for RIGHT THIS MOMENT, but 6 months later or 3 years, it may be - and I'd rather not drive myself nuts trying to find it wherever I saw it first. The walls of my office and my studio are covered in images of things that have caught my eye, and I regularly take things down and put new things up (and archive the old images).
So don't be afraid to accept inspiration wherever it comes, even if it doesn't seem "normal." Collect it, gather it where you can, and save it. Create an image or sound archive that you can immerse yourself in when you need a new direction. Don't be afraid to explore a concept until you've really exhausted it or confidently feel you can put it aside. Don't dismiss anything before you've tried it, pushing the society/them voice aside and really LOOK at the idea and consider it without judgment. Don't be afraid that you may be repeating yourself - most often the greatest work starts off with a familiar pattern that changes much more deeply in the process, unlocking doors. Don't be afraid to collaborate, get feedback, and challenge yourself - trying to save or protect an idea is a futile concept. The muses, they are slutty, and trust me, they will get the idea out there somewhere, somehow, if you don't do it yourself. And if you tackle it in your own way, in your own voice, it will always be yours in that regard. Yes, perhaps "everything has been done before", but not by YOU.
And here's some of my favorite online places to go looking (all very different from each other in what they offer):
Trial By Steam
Wearable Art Blog