Inspired by | A Song Playing on the Radio

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

It’s the 10th! Only 14 days until Christmas! And… I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by to share!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

This time we chose a music theme and it’s kind of vague, but it makes sense to us:

A song playing on the radio

I was thinking of the Top 2000 when I came up with this month’s theme. It’s a popular annual event on one of the Dutch public radio stations, where they play 2000 songs from Christmas until New Year’s Eve. The songs are chosen by the public. This year’s list isn’t published yet.

The idea was that you have all these songs and because they are of all times, you are bound to hear ones that spark memories or that mean something to you.

In my case, I don’t need the Top 2000 to spark ideas or memories. I can just turn on the radio and many random songs will make me think of something specific.

It’s harder when you know you have to create something with that story or memory though!

It took me about half an hour of listening to the radio to find a song I could work with. And I didn’t even have to hear the song I chose.

I heard someone request ‘It’s on you’ by M.C. Sar and The Real McCoy and I was immediately brought back to the dance floor of the disco where my friends and I spent our Saturday nights. The radio DJ didn’t play it, but he played other songs related to that same time, so I went with it anyway.

I totally get why the DJ chose to play other songs instead. ‘It’s on you’ was a huge hit in the Netherlands in 1990 and I remember I loved it, but when you hear it now… It’s sooooo nineties!


The song hit number 3 in the Dutch Top 40 by the end of September 1990. I was 16, turning 17 in October. Being 16 is hard for anyone. I was in my pre-exam year and I had tons and tons of homework. I still have the school planner to prove it.

It’s also the year I stopped journaling. Which is a shame, because I would have liked to read a bit about what was going on. I know that my grandmother died in August of that year and that I must have been grieving hard.

Things were changing fast, school demanded a lot of time, I had a job at a supermarket on the weekends and on Saturday night me and my friends hung out together. I don’t think we could afford going to the disco every weekend, but we tried to go at least every other week.

At first I thought I would scrapbook for this month’s Inspired by, but then the things that came up seemed raw, so I turned to an art journal spread instead:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: A Song on the Radio

I started with a black gesso-ed page. I have a stack of inky paper towels sitting on a shelve because my friend Birgit told me they’re a fun supply to use. The colours remind me of disco lights. So I decided use them. They represent the fun times and the dark purples represent the sad things.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: A Song on the Radio

I wrote part of the lyrics with a purple metallic gel pen along the edges of the paper towel collage. The little collage pieces on top are a jeans label from that time. There is some stamping and scribbling on the spread too, but it’s hardly visible.


Wow… The thing about this that has struck me most is: I didn’t realize I didn’t journal in 1990. Not that I ever go back to read any of my journals, but it’s telling that the one I want to read doesn’t exist. I hit something with this song, that I didn’t realize was there. Interesting!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: A Song Playing on the Radio

The colours and texture on this page are stunning. I don’t think the photos do it justice. I’m really pleased with how the paper towel collage pieces look. It’s something I will definitely try again!

Now… I’ve kept you for far too long! Hop on over to Paperiliitin, to see what Riikka has come up with!

Edit: I forgot to tell you about Marit Barentsen’s annual Top 2000 blog party. If you like the idea of creating to music, then I encourage you to check it out. Everyone is welcome to play along!

Have a wonderful weekend!