We have all been hit by inspiration at one point or another in our lives. It is one of those things that seems to strike you out of thin air and then mysteriously vanishes as quickly as it arrived. It can come in a large form like after reading a Tony Robbins book you decide to quit your job to pursue the career you’ve always dreamed of of becoming the spritz boy for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue photo shoot. It can also come in a smaller form like when you’re sitting on the couch dreaming of becoming a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue spritz boy and a loved one comes in the room and yells at you to take out the trash for the fifth time that night, or she’ll force you to watch every Hugh Grant movie until you puke.
Like the examples listed above, i believe that all inspiration starts off as motivation. You read the Tony Robbins book, you get motivated to change your life and as you’re getting your shit together you get inspired to become a spritz boy. Or your loved one motivates you by making a threat of Biblical proportions. This motivation then inspires you to do what she wants you to do, like take out the trash.
Being an artist, I find it fairly easy to get motivated, it’s just turning that motivation into inspiration that I have trouble with. Just the other day, I woke up feeling motivated to start a new painting. I had an idea of the subject matter, so after a quick breakfast, I searched the web and perused some magazines to get some photos to use as reference points. Once I gathered up enough photos, I set about starting the piece. About 20 minutes in, nothing was flowing out of me and my painting was looking a bit wonky to say the least. So, I went to the computer and Youtubed “Will Smith Inspiration” and after watching a few clips, I felt motivated again and got back to work. After another few minutes of work, my piece looked like the left overs of a clown walking through a mine field. I then noticed that I was listening to Rammstein and like any good German industrial music, it tends to be a bit loud and violent. So I turned it off and put on some nice Brasilian Samba music. This put me in a better mind set and got me flowing better, but still the art piece looked like an exploded clown carcass.
This back and forth pattern continued throughout the day and it actually got to the point where for some reason I had rearranged my sock drawer, twice! Around 10pm or so I conceded that no matter how motivated I was, inspiration would continue to evade me. Needing to clear my head, I went to the gym. While on the elliptical, I was listening to Queens of the Stone Age and alas, inspiration hit me! In my head, I saw the piece I was working on take shape right before my eyes. The colors were beyond vivid, the line work crisp and everything was situated in the right place. With this charge going through my system, I rushed home, got out my paint and just as my brush touched canvas, nothing. Like the mysterious lady at the end of the bar who you finally got up the nerve to go and chat up, was gone! Hopefully, when I come back tomorrow, she’ll be there waiting? A man can only dream.