Chuck Close shares his thoughts on inspiration for artists:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.”
I couldn’t agree more. Process produces product… you’ve got to keep playing with the materials.
I always come up with new work while trying for something else. The key for me is exploration.
I try not to give up on a piece mid-way through working on it. I always try to look at it with fresh eyes, and somehow save it. In the process of saving it, new ideas are born. You have to just plug away at it, and try to see the object as it is; not what you wished it were.
Anyone who has taken my class knows how much I hate it when you plunge a hot bead into the water jar just because it’s not living up to your expectations. Some call it water annealing… Ha! I call it the Creative Reactive assassination Procedure… or CRAP for short…. Don’t do that!! Don’t throw away an opportunity to explore in a new direction. So what if it’s not what you planned! Stop and re-assess. Say to yourself… “Now what?” …. is there something about the bead you DO like? One little corner of it? What if you cover up everything you don’t like and highlight the part you do? What if you changed the shape? What if you squished it? Try make it into a crazy animal of some kind…. make yourself laugh! …. worse comes to worse?? Practice your encasing, and encase the whole thing in a solid color and start from scratch.
Just keep going!!! Keep working!!! And most importantly, Play!! That’s where the new ideas come from.
Try not to be so safe… everything you make doesn’t have to be usable. In my opinion, it is far more important to make something that teaches you something new and brings you to a new exciting place creatively.
Your mistakes are your own. So are your solutions. This is the time when you go off script. When you’re not working from the tutorial or book. It’s the time when your voice can sing!
One more Robert Frost for you….
just because it seems entirely appropriate to the occasion….
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
I’m going to go play now. … wanna come?