Most artists probably just go to the library and look at books, or hit a museum for inspiration. I buy things. I surf the internet looking for cool things and then I buy them. Maybe it's a new tool. Maybe it's new materials. But that night, almost ten years ago, I found a website in Australia that sold butterflies. I was amazed by the variety of colors, shapes and patterns. I carefully selected $100 worth of bugs, then painfully put $60 of them back. I waited three weeks until the box of dead bugs appeared in my mailbox. And then.... nothing. I still had no ideas, and now I had no ideas and a box of dead bugs.
When I was in high school, I was trying to pick out an elective for the upcoming year. My mom encouraged me to take something that was useful, and would give me "real world" skills. Typing. I explained to my mom that this "whole computer thing" was just a "fad" and that at no point in my life did I ever plan on having a job that would require me to type anything.