There was a recent New York Times piece entitled, “Where does inspiration come from?” In it, the writer discovered that the genesis of inspiration and creativity isn’t as enigmatic as we once thought. It involves three stages: Step 1: Work. Step 2: Be frustrated. Step 3: Repeat.
Everybody needs motivation. Everybody needs to feel inspired. And we all dread that day, when we feel we're not inspired. Well again, it comes down to practice. Practice and reflection doesn't remove the fact that we don't know where inspiration comes from, or that we are uninspired by our own work. It only identifies that we are FRUSTRATED by our own work. So, what we should do (according to the NY Times (and me)), is try again and again and again. Reflection is just that; reflecting on what isn't working, and trying again. Or even reflecting on what IS working, and repeating it or developing on it.
According to the article, and to my own levels of internal conversation, I put it down to giving up too early - we give up when we're frustrated. Of course we don't realise this is the most important part of the three stages; because we give up too soon... everything is too hard, and the work isn't 'working'.
So the way it works is this - we plateau with learning, and then a 'spike' or 'catalystic' event happens in the work and then, we're back, but better. That's the point of mastery. These events can be as simple as buying a new art pen, listening to a piece of music, changing a thought pattern or activity, talking to someone out of our comfort zone, reading a magazine we've not looked at before.... basically, I mean we change an action and the reaction is the result - the frustration is just a stepping stone. The REFLECTION on what just happened, opens our eyes to the fact that we've just learnt something from the change.... if we don't realise the event happened because we're so focused on the frustration, of course we'll miss it.
Now, again according to the NY Times, there are three types of personalities who deal with this 'plateau' differently - the dabbler, who reaches this plateu, gets bored and moves onto something new... the obsessive, or lives for these spikes of frustration and pushes past them - ultimately, trying to go from one spike to another - not reflecting on what happened before - and ultimately, they burn out (sound familiar???). The final, is the hacker - the person reaching the plateau, and stays there - no need for self reflection, they're just happy to have reached their 'summit'.
So, I looked at all of these, and tried to figure which one am I? Well, not any one, but all I'm afraid... so that was a bit of a reminder about the practice of reflection and not stopping just because you hit a bump in the road.
Just keep in moving through the plateau and keep trying to find new areas of influence. I find it interesting that people still ask that question, where do you get your inspiration from... everywhere, anywhere and when I feel like I've lost it; I look at the artwork I'm producing, or the ideas I'm having and search deeper into the ideas I already have...
(above: doodles inspired by Hanz Zimmer's sound track 'Lone Ranger' - listen to a piece of music and just doodle; rather than 'tuning it out', incorporate it into the work)
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Tanya is a traditional and digital artist, living in Brisbane and inspired by all that is 'Art'.