“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
This quote by Chuck Close is the foundation of my approach to my work. It is only when I hit my sketchbook, my studio - my working mind - that ideas and concepts start to flow. Sitting down and waiting is not an option.
It is not about waiting for inspiration to strike, or seeing the final result. The enjoyment is in my work, the process that I go through everyday. A single piece of art will sometimes be made up of hundreds of sketches, brainstorming scribbles and inspiration from every corner of the globe. They are made up of the people I see honking their horns in traffic, impatiently ordering their coffee at Starbucks, or giving a banana to a homeless person on the street.
The process starts with a “switched-on”, deliberate observation, and a message that can be expressed from this observation. The next stage is to research symbols that may overlap with the concept. This may be looking into Chinese or Greek mythology, or even diving deeper into my memories of the Dr Seuss books my mother gave me as a kid. The weeks and weeks of the design process are what feeds my inner artist and gives it the energy to push through hours upon sleepless hours of painting the final design.
The end goal is to have an artwork that is so well thought-through, that the viewer falls in love with it, cries in front of it or has a revelation through it…and in some cases even dislikes it. The reaction is the key, and a well thought-through artwork rich with process and will have this desired effect.
Written By William D. Higginson.