Chuck Close

Inspiration is for Amateurs

“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. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

Chuck Close

Kari-Lise shared this quote with me today; it was too good not to post here. It’s solid advice from an incredibly prolific artist. So, what are you going to do? Wait around for the lighting to strike or are you going to show up and get to work? In the end, it’s up to you.

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9 thoughts on “Inspiration is for Amateurs

  1. Advice that rings with truth. I’ve had more ideas come to me after I start writing than otherwise. I think it’s along the lines of priming the pump rather than staring at the pump and expecting water to gush out.

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    1. I agree. Some of my best ideas have come while I have been working. Ideas that I would never have had if I had waited for the muse. I think very often people are scared to throw away work as well, which is why they wait around for inspiration.

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  2. I more or less agree with this. Yes , you have to get to work then only it is possible . But inspiration is equally important to keep you motivated that no matter what you will win against all the odds. Well at the end of the day, everybody has a right to have an opinion.

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    1. Thanks for you comment. :) I believe what Chuck Close is talking about is continually spending time at your craft (in his case painting) as opposed to waiting around for the muse to strike and getting nothing done because you didn’t feel like working.

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    1. I just checked out your blog, and I don’t think you’re an amateur at all. What Close is saying is amateurs don’t create; they sit around staring at their hands instead of doing the work. You’ve done a lot of work you should be proud of, keep at it. :)

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