I always imagine that starting a new piece, breaking through the blankness of the cloth is like a surgeon making the first cut in surgery. There’s a moment of hesitation when you take a deep breath and then exhale as you cross an invisible boundary that will lead you on a journey of discovery. The blank cloth is comforting and anxiety producing at the same time and that’s what makes it so important to telling my story.
My personal story is always filled with comfort and anxiety. I don’t feel any different than any other being walking this planet. Beginning the piece is about telling the next chapter of the never ending story and what part I want to reveal at any given time is always a mystery. It’s the mystery that keeps my creativity fresh. It’s the mystery that keeps me asking questions both about life and my art.
There are places of beauty in the world and I often use the for inspiration, after all they were created by a being greater than me. However, if I look at my life as the greatest masterpiece I’ll ever create than everything external is simply a catalyst, but it’s not the true inspiration. The true inspiration is when I can be what Thomas Merton calls my “true self”. The self I am and want to be if I were standing with God. That’s the place of great honest, and that vulnerability is a huge inspiration.
If you look at art as a spiritual practice, then keeping yourself in the question is imperative to continuing your story. For me, the question revolves around who am I instead of what do I do. It’s the place where I begin to see my identity as an ever evolving story that includes bumps in the road, but they are the things that make my life and the art striking and interesting.
I know there’s a tendency when you get stuck creatively to look to the outer world for inspiration, but if you dare look within I think you’ll have enough inspiration for a lifetime.