Andrea Wise

Chuck Close on Inspiration

Andrea WiseComment
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 idea.’ 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 did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.
— Chuck Close

Chuck Close is and always has been one of my favorite contemporary artists and that's partially because he's never allowed himself to be confined by the particular medium he's currently working in. So when I came across this quote on one of my favorite creative blogs, Brain Pickings, I wanted to share it with you all. It reminds me of a time when I heard pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Carolyn Cole speak to a group of students and she said something along the lines of how people like to chalk good photographs up to luck, but that "luck" is actually just patience + persistence.

If you're not familiar with Chuck's work, I'm sure you'd recognize his portraits. He also recently photographed celebrities for Vanity Fair using a behemoth 20" x 24" polaroid camera. Vanity Fair published a great little video of him working in which he shares some of his wisdom for portraiture.

In the end, creative work is hard work. And the magic happens when you "position yourself for happy accidents," as radio producer Jay Allison kindly told me years ago shortly before I graduated college when I blindly emailed him soliciting his sage advice. It's stayed with me since, and I try to live by it. When you work hard, and put an energy out into the world, it comes back to you and good things happen. And if you maintain the faith that the universe will somehow reward your hard work and energy, it usually does, even if in ways you never could have envisioned at the start.