Chuck Close? Stephen King? Philip Roth? Harvey Mackay? Mark Twain? Charles Schulz? Rosalyn Drexler? John Barkham? Nocona Burgess? Jill Elaine Hughes?
Dear Quote Investigator: An artist must wait patiently for inspiration to occur according to a romanticized depiction of creativity. Yet, a successful professional artist offered the following contrary viewpoint:
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
This notion has been attributed to acclaimed photorealist painter Chuck Close, popular horror writer Stephen King, Noble Prize-winning author Philip Roth, motivational columnist Harvey Mackay, and others. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: In April 2006 Chuck Close was interviewed by fellow artist Joe Fig. The interview appeared in the 2009 book “Inside the Painter’s Studio”. The text below consists of a question posed by Fig followed by a reply from Close. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 2009, Inside the Painter’s Studio, Compiled by Joe Fig, Artist: Chuck Close, Date: April 25, 2006, Quote Page 42, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. (Verified with scans)
Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?
Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great “art idea.”
Interestingly, a character in a novel by Philip Roth employed a version of this saying while crediting Chuck Close. Also, Stephen King used a version while crediting Roth. Thus, the confusion about attribution is understandable. Details are presented further below.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||2009, Inside the Painter’s Studio, Compiled by Joe Fig, Artist: Chuck Close, Date: April 25, 2006, Quote Page 42, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. (Verified with scans)|