Inspiration is Hard Work

 The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Daniel Patrick Simmons for The Fox Is Black

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Daniel Patrick Simmons for The Fox Is Black

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
— Pablo Picasso

Inspiration has long been the romantic part of the creative process. As a society it seems we have become increasingly obsessed with the pursuit of being inspired, routinely wooed by that tingly feeling of wonder and awe whenever a thing of beauty catches our eye. We spend hours looking at images other people have taken, curating projects other people have completed, cataloging articles other people have written. Consuming more and more until we reach the fleeting emotional high of feeling inspired.

Inspiration is important. We have long been collectors of inspirational findings - cutting up magazines, collaging images, filling journals and boxes and boards. But what should our response to feeling inspired be?

Terence McKenna once said, we need to "stop consuming images and start producing them." If our end goal of seeking inspiration is to glean new insights and stir creativity within, then there comes a point when all the gathering and oohing and awing must turn into action. Otherwise, all that well intentioned inspiration starts to actually work against us - where perfectionism, procrastination and idleness cleverly disguise their ugly selves as anything that looks or feels inspiring. And what's less inspiring than the burden of inaction?

Countless brilliant minds have expressed their thoughts about this very idea. Chuck Close famously claimed “inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work,” echoing Tchaikovsky's declaration that "we must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood."

These ideas on creative disciplinework ethic in art, fighting your way through the creative gap and why you need grit in creativity have been explored by many.

The first Google result on the definition of inspiration reads "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative." The key word being do should imply action, but often the act of pursuing inspiration dead ends where our daily routines and habits begin.

Emotional highs and good intentions only last so long. Stumbling through years of inspiration hoarding and sporadic doing, we are learning to pursue inspiration more as research rather than sentiment. We are learning that putting our heads down and just doing something - anything, is far more inspiring than waiting around for some magic moment that may or may not strike.

The result is what you are reading. This blog was created as a space for us to explore, nurture and celebrate the creative energy within and around us. This is our attempt to show up and get to work - whether we feel like it or not.