‘Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.’
I’ve heard Chuck Close use that line before, but right now it speaks so directly to how I’ve been feeling about inspiration, appropriation, value, context, and work ethics. Far be it from me to claim to be free from inspiration, but I do think Close is right. If you imagine your creative work as a spectrum, you’d have the finding and saving of the work of others on one end, and “showing up and getting to work” on the other. Life doesn’t have to exist solely within the latter part of the spectrum, of course, but the more time we spend there (and, conversely, the less time we spend poring over “inspiration”), the more we likely we are to produce work that is truly the result of what we set out to do when we decided a life in the arts was what we wanted.