“Once you acquiesce to the demands of the creative life, it becomes part of you. Even in the middle of a project, you still look for new ideas every day. At any moment, you’re prepared to stop what you’re doing to make a note or a drawing, or capture a fleeting thought.” — Rick Rubin, The Creative Act, page 296
“You still look for new ideas every day.” Looking even sounds a bit too aggressive here. For me it’s more just staying out of the way and paying attention, then responding right away when an idea presents itself. I don’t judge them at the moment. The other day I found myself admiring the proportion of a lidded ceramic jar. Something about the dual ovalness, the weightiness, the solid gravity of it caught my eye so I drew this in my notes:
It’s kind of nothing. It doesn’t have to be anything. This part is just going grocery shopping — it isn’t cooking. But as soon as I see it again I think ooh yeah, heft. Ovals. Olives. Lids. It might end up in a painting, it could be the proportions of a dress. It can also remain nothing. Right now it’s a potential spark and that is perfect.
No one told me I was an artist. I pieced it together in reverse. Not by taking art classes, but by figuring out that I already thought like an artist. That I solved problems like one. By looking back at the disparate things I’d done in my life that had a certain sparkling curious compelling energy beaming from them and feeling a pull for more of that. A pull to make that less haphazard, more immersive. I wanted to spend more of my life thinking that way, acting that way, breathing and sleeping that way. It was what I wanted. I just had to peel a bunch of extra stuff away.
- This is giving us permission, right? Not an obligation. It’s an invitation. I’m not letting acquiesce and demands scare me off.