‘Inspiration Is For Amateurs — The Rest Of Us Just Get To Work’

‘Inspiration Is For Amateurs — The Rest Of Us Just Get To Work’

The partial quote above comes from painter Chuck Close, who says he’s never had “painter’s block” in his life. The “just show up and get to work” motto is a great creed to live by, especially if you want to be prolific and creative.

Brain Pickings highlights an interview with Chuck Close published in Inside the Painter’s Studio:

Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will – through work – bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art ida.’ And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you didid today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

Close’s attitude reminds me of another inspirational quote from Pablo Picasso: /”Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

For more on Close’s work ethic and thoughts on creativity, head over to Brain Pickings.

Chuck Close on Creativity, Work Ethic, and Problem-Solving vs. Problem-Creating [Brain Pickings]


  • As a creative professional who is also an engineer, I aspire to this, but don’t always meet the bar and always want to get better at it.

    I heard the same thing expressed by a professional figure skater maybe 20 years ago – that even on days when he didn’t feel “up” for the show, he still had to perform with artistic and technical excellence… and he said that there were many talented amateurs who could do what he did on a good day, but that what separated the people who made it as professionals from the amateurs, is that professionals could do so on bad days as well.

    Rare admission of one of barb’s professional limitation: Sometimes, I feel like I’m a pretty lacklustre creative professional for not being able to turn artistic inspiration on and off on demand, given that I’ve been doing this for 30 years and think I should have figured out how to do that by now.

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