By Guest Blogger: Becca Ryan

It may seem to be an unusual suggestion, using international sport to inspire your art but you never know. It could bring your work to a whole new level. You don’t even have to watch to get inspired.

I am a huge fan of The World Cup. People from all over the world tune in and share an experience. The costumes, the music, the colors, it all makes me feel connected to people all over the world. The Cup inspires me to learn about different cultures. Personally, I’m interested in food and literature – I tend to base my world exploration on those interests. You can explore the world through your passions as well.

Artists can find inspiration from the host country (Russia) or any of the other 31 countries playing. Every nation has art and culture to examine. Some of the uniform (kit) designs are inspired by blending ancient and modern designs. Some nations stand on the shoulders of the world’s oldest civilizations and have curated massive collections to explore. You never know where you may find inspiration.

You might start with exploring some of the illustration done for this year’s World CupTo help inspire you in other ways, I’ve compiled a list of some pretty interesting and inspirational art and artists from countries around the world.

Red SquareRussia:

Tune in to any pre- or post-game show on Fox Sports and you will see them broadcasting live from Red Square in Moscow. Talk about architecture – you can explore Russian architecture through online sources like Architectural Digest or check out William Craft Brumfield’s seminal work “A History of Russian Architecture“.

If you’re interested in politics, you might want to investigate the Russian Revolution propaganda posters (and some surrounding controversy). The posters are important but some folks think they shouldn’t be exhibited.

There are so many other ways to be inspired by the world around you. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Argentina – Famous for their handicrafts and textiles, you can learn about Argentinian textile history and learn about alpaca fiber in more detail.
  • Australia – Visit this list of Contemporary Australian Artists where you can explore the artists’ web sites, Instagram feeds, and online showcases and learn more about the artists that intrigue you.
  • Belgium – Did you know that Brussels is the Art Nouveau capitol of the world? Read the brief history of Art Nouveau in Belgium and get to know Belgium’s greatest Art Nouveau architect, Victor Horta.
  • Brazil – Celebrate Carnival and explore costume design. There are many sites, videos and images to explore but Rio Carnival has a whole section dedicated to the hows and whys of Carnival costume design.
  • Colombia – When Bogota launched Fashion Week (follow them on Twitter or on Facebook ), it became the epicenter of Colombia’s fashion revolution.
  • Costa Rica – One of the most famous artists (painting, wood engraving) from Costa Rica is Franisco Amighetti. You can see a curated selection of his work on this Pinterest collection.
  • Croatia – Have you heard of the Sea Organ of Zadar? It consists of thirty-five organ pipes hidden under concrete steps at the shore line. The perpetual movement of the waves and wind pushes air in and out of the pipes, creating a functional space that sounds lovely.
  • Denmark – Copenhagen’s architects and designers are testing new strategies for sustainable, citizen-focused cities. This case study about urban design might fascinate you.
  • Egypt – Take a peek at The Met’s Online Egyptian Exhibit where they have videos, articles, and lectures about their collection. Click here for an in depth look at one very special Egyptian faience!
  • England – With a searchable online collection of over 4 million objects, The British Museum’s extensive online collection of innovative art experiences can take you nearly anywhere you want to explore.
  • France – Parisine is the creation of typeface designer Jean Francois Porchez and is the Paris Metro font. Here’s a great article about the history of the typography.
  • Germany – The oldest surviving stained glass windows still in situ are thought to be the Prophet Windows in Augsburg Cathedral in Bavaria. Google for a glimpse of the windows or start by checking out this overview.
  • Iceland – Ragnar Axelsson, known as RAX, is an accomplished Icelandic photographer. Here is a good introduction to his work.
  • Iran – Some of the most beautiful patterned rugs in the world come from Iran. You may know them as Persian rugs and their history is absolutely fascinating.
  • Japan – Of course, when many of us think of Japan, we think of everything from woodblock prints to anime and everything in between. Hiroshi Moi has taken many mediums and styles and brought them together with some classic European works.
  • South Korea – The active animation and gaming industry has given birth to the highly regarded Seoul Animation Center.
  • Mexico – If you are interested in historic preservation, the Google Arts & Culture project “Preserving Maya Heritage” reveals research and technology preserve a culture through their arts and artifacts.
  • Morocco – The Jardin Marjorelle is one of the most visited sites in Marrakech.  One of the highlights of any visit is the garden, often listed as one of the best landscape designs in the world. Follow their Facebook page for regular updates and seasonal landscaping.
  • Nigeria – Lagos is Nigeria’s cultural hotspot and sees designers and local fashion influencers combining modest dressing with bold colorful prints. Collections are dynamic; full of inspiration and confidence – check out last year’s highlights!
  • Panama – Molas are traditional textiles worn by Kuna women in Panama (and Colombia). They are made from reverse applique and applique and often take hundreds of hours to complete even a small square. Start to explore molas and their symbolism here.
  • Peru – This wonderful overview from the Ancient History Encyclopedia provides an overview of the many forms of Incan Art.
  • Poland – Artist Marta Klonowska assembles shards of glass into animal sculptures inspired by baroque and romantic paintings.
  • Portugal – Take a look at a Porto firm’s study comparing various project’s architecture/design “before” and “after” project completion.
  • Saudi Arabia – Arabic calligraphy is one of the highest art forms in Arab culture. The Met offers a 7 unit study for Arabic arts, including one focusing just on script and calligraphy here.
  • Senegal – Here is a fascinating look at the first female graffiti artist in Dakar, working to demonstrate the role of women in society and challenge the mainstream.
  • Serbia – Founded in 2005, Belgrade Design Week demonstrates the wonderfully creative project “100 Creative Playgrounds for The Children of Serbia”.
  • Spain – When I think of Spain, I think of a passage from one of my favorite books. “I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used…” In the cultural world, Andalusian celebrate at the Feria de Augosto and other ferias honoring their region’s rich culture – often with a focus on Flamenco.
  • Sweden – If you’re interested in film, you probably know a little about Sweden’s film industry. Have you seen any/all of these 10 great Swedish films?
  • Switzerland – Take a virtual tour of the world famous Brienz Carving School and find out about how this Swiss town became a tourist destination.
  • Tunisia – In the space where art and politics combine, you can find some very interesting inspiration. In the streets of Grand Tunis, artists are creating “calligraffiti” – where the art of calligraphy and graffiti merge.
  • Uruguay – The 13 cabins at the new Sacromonte Landscape Hotel in Maldonado seem to melt into the surrounding landscape.

There are so many ways to get inspired every day. Learning, growing, and trying new experiences is essential for everyone, but especially for artists working on an art school portfolio.