waiting for inspiration

I recently read the statement by Chuck Close, “Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.” This hit a cord with me as I continue to show up in my studio everyday as if I have a deadline. I’m driven to the work without understanding why. It’s not like I’m preparing for a show. And still, I don’t know how to turn it off…nor do I want to. So it surprises me when I talk to other artists who say they can’t get to their work this week or next because of other obligations. All I can think is, there will always be obstacles out there to boobytrap us.

To wait for inspiration can have you waiting forever. It’s an idealistic fantasy to think an artist is suddenly struck with the magic of original ideas. Art is hard work and should be looked at as a fulltime job. It’s the commitment to show up in the studio every day that gives the work its power. I look back on my body of work and while there may be some similarities in my past work, such as color preferences and design esthetics, still the work itself has changed significantly over the years. By putting in long hours, I worked through many problems, and while I have had many false starts along the way, I don’t think of them as mistakes. There’s no gain without reaching for some deeper meaning, or why create at all?

None of my gains would have happened if I waited around for inspiration to hit. There were times where I just went to the studio to clean it. This is what I call showing up. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is if inspiration isn’t there, don’t give up, don’t give in to it; read about art, go to the galleries, change mediums…anything that keeps you engaged. Sometimes you just have to fill up again with new ideas.