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.

11 Comments
  • Gustavo Miranda

    November 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm Reply

    Well… he’s not wrong at all, but his point explain why there are so many bad products today coming form companies which have made very good in the past…

  • Fabian

    November 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm Reply

    I can only agree with his statement. One can’t create everything in his head, ideas need to be executed, then revised and improved and executed again. It’s more of a process then a one time action.

  • Michael Kerschbaumer

    November 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm Reply

    I agree with what is said, although I find little pretentious statements like “inspiration is for amateurs” lame. Sure you can engross yourself in your work and variants and different solutions will expose themselves through inquiry alone, but it can become a habitual crutch to “redesign the wheel, by analyzing other wheels.” Real innovation often comes when seemingly unrelated objects or actions from other walks of life inspire a new way of looking at and designing the next wheel.
    If you’re not following me… it’s quite often the difference between designers who are thinkers and great designers/artists who are feelers and seers; they are more likely to find the solutions on the way to work; not while their heads are buried in it.
    If inspiration is for amateurs, then thinking is for fools. Regardless, use all the tools to get the job done and don’t wait on anything.

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

  • Words of Wisdom « A Patchwork Life

    November 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm Reply

    […] Inspiration is for Amateurs (designsojourn.com) […]

  • Design Translator

    November 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm Reply

    @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.

  • […] 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 […]

  • Bits of Wisdom | The Information Workshop

    December 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm Reply

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

  • Pete H

    March 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm Reply

    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.

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