After years of study, Kant (Lemay & Pitts, 1994: 19) came up with the conclusion that all humans have similar faculties that filter perceived reality. By examining his own mind, Kant argued that he is in effect generating a universal human knowledge, which is applicable to others as well. Jean-Jacques Rousseau agreed with Kant’s method of self-exploration, adding that examination of one’s mind should follow the examination of one’s emotions. Rousseau, according to Ackroyd’s study on the influences on the Romantics (2006), had a private emotional revelation in 1796 where he saw thousands of lights and a ‘crowd of splendid ideas presented to him’. This emotional experience was later reflected upon, and inspired Rousseau’s later critical work. In that way, self-exploration seems to be beneficial when one explores one’s own mind as well as heart.
Following this argument, I have created art works and examined my own process of being inspired, and of transforming emotions into words and images. The patterns that I have observed were later compared to those evidenced in the literature as well as in the interviews I undertook with artists.