Inspiration is for Amateurs

Chuck Close from Wisdom said:

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.

I would say this also applies to design? There are similarities between the creative processes of artists and designers. And as I’ve said before A Busy Designer is Never Stuck. So start your designing now!

Quote from Wisdom via: 9-bits.

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Brian Ling

Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.

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11 Comments on "Inspiration is for Amateurs"

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[…] Chuck Close quote and image via Design Sojurn […]

Pete H

I just heard this quote while watching an episode of Art Race, and just had to do a search on it. It really challenged me in my own thoughts and work. I’ve had many ideas come and go because I was too “busy” to stop and either capture the idea in a sketch or try it in my workshop as soon as possible. Getting on to the doing is a key path to retaining and exposing new ideas.


[…] Amateurs look for inspiration. The rest of us just show up and get to work. Artist Chuck Close. […]


[…] is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work,” a quote from Chuck Close. I kinda love quotes that are obnoxious, true and worth unraveling. What he’s talking […]

Design Translator
@Michael: Thanks for taking the time to comment. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you missed the spirit of the quote entirely! What Chuck is saying is actually: “Waiting for Inspiration is for Amateurs”. I fully agree with what you say, but designers whom are thinkers will eventually need to do what they think either in the form of a sketch, model etc. Plus it helps in the iterative process. By all means think, but this quote is more about a call to action rather than waiting. @Fabian and @Gustavo: Thanks for your comments.

[…] Inspiration is for Amateurs ( […]


[…] the longer quote at designsojourn. add a […]


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