Chamblee54

Inspiration Is For Amateurs

Posted in Commodity Wisdom by chamblee54 on November 6, 2012









PG was listening to an interview with a fiction writer. Someone said “Inspiration is for amateurs.” PG has always been more impressed by action than beliefs, and this phrase made sense. If nothing else, this is a good excuse to post some more pictures from The Library of Congress.

The phrase is from a painter named Chuck Close. His output is expensive, and widely enjoyed. A spinal injury left him paralyzed, but did not stop him from producing. Here is the full quote about inspiration:

“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.”

A man once made pottery. It was said that the man only worked with passion, and that if he didn’t feel this passion he did not work. When PG heard that, his thought was that if PG worked that way, he would never finish anything. Most of the sticker pictures take a while to finish. PG always gets tired of the picture before it is through. The idea is to go to the studio, start to do stuff, and before long the enthusiasm will return. Any image requires a certain amount of time with the belly pressed against the work table, or the digital equivalent.

The formula for writing is ass plus chair. A teacher once said to not stare at the blank page, waiting for a bolt of lightening. Start to write something, and the ideas will start to sputter out of the pipeline.

It is not enough to have a bright idea. You have to work the problems out. Sometimes, you spend more time finding out what does not work, than what does. You have to do it wrong before you can do it right. Genius is ninety nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration. If any cliches have been overlooked, please add them to the comments.

One thing that is helpful is to be focused. The internet can be a problem. When you should be thinking about your product, it is very tempting to see the latest on Facebook. The same can be said for twitter. Even when praising a bit of anti-inspiration.

@tom_peters “Inspiration is for amateurs.” Success is hard work.
@Doctor_V @tom_peters Inspiration/motivational books are my fav way to procrastinate.
@mkarun99 @tom_peters very true. Thanks for sharing one of the life-changing tweets

Here are a few more thoughts from Mr. Close. I’ve always thought that problem solving is highly overrated and that problem creation is far more interesting. ~ “What difference does it make whether you’re looking at a photograph or looking at a still life in front of you? You still have to look.” ~ It doesn’t upset artists to find out that artists used lenses or mirrors or other aids, but it certainly does upset the art historians. ~ It’s always a pleasure to talk about someone else’s work. ~ You know, the way art history is taught, often there’s nothing that tells you why the painting is great. The description of a lousy painting and the description of a great painting will very much sound the same.

This was written like H. P. Lovecraft.







2 Responses

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  1. Inspiration Is For Amateurs | Chamblee54 said, on November 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    […] PG has always been more impressed by action than beliefs, and this phrase made sense. This repost is a good excuse to post some more pictures from The Library of Congress. The phrase is from a […]

  2. Eighty Percent | Chamblee54 said, on November 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    […] PG has always been more impressed by action than beliefs, and this phrase made sense. This repost is a good excuse to post some more pictures from The Library of Congress. The phrase is from a […]


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