Artist Chuck Close on practice, doing

I went to a museum today.

I thought I’d talk about a museum visit years back. It was to an art museum, in Tacoma, WA.

One of the first field trips I took with my team at Design Kompany was in Seattle, around 2006 or so. I remember it was to an art show in Tacoma. There were three of us at DK at that time, which was much different from nowadays (it’s just me, now), yet I noticed even all this time later, field trips continue to be a big part of how I find the stories to put in the weekly e-mag, S P A C E. Tomorrow’s issue is ‘Museum’.

Chuck Close comes to mind today because of something inspiring he said about persisting. The show in Tacoma was an exhibition of his works. I had seen them before, in New York. But being a little older and at different point on the globe, things looked different to me. I could see the details. I took more time to look at the pieces.

Maybe the West Coast’s vibe of being more laidback kept me from overscheduling myself, and we rolled around to different places including a brewery, I think.

Work was fun. It still is.


Quality is what you like

Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged on the road to ‘being creative’, whatever that means to you. Sometimes we wait for a big safe space to make time for ourselves to do what we feel matters, to express ourselves, maybe to ourselves first, and then to ‘the big world.’

I met some older people who were waiting for a day to retire and ‘mess up someone’s floor’ or ‘just paint all day’ when I was in Manhattan for a very short time, and I remember thinking, ‘Why not just do that now?’  From a point in my life that is closer to their age than I was then, though, I can see that obligations and social mores get in the way of us doing what we really want, even if we have the means and privilege to do so.


Here’s the advice I mentioned above. It is from photographer Chuck Close:

‘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.’

This originally appeared in the ‘Last Word’ section of DK’s eZine S P A C E in 2019’s series ‘In the Vernacular.’

[Hat tip SS]



Update: August 2023