I got this question earlier on my ask.fm (where I’m doing questions these days) and for once I liked my answer. It’s something I’ve wanted to talk about, so I’m reposting it here.What kind of things inspire/motivate you to make art?I can give you small answers and then the big answer.Most of my inspiration comes from having something to say. Like most anything I make could be summed up by some specific idea that was rolling around in my head at a given time. The video for The Murph was me reformulating my view of the universe, history, the future and humankind after losing my faith. With Any Sort Of Certainty was about my bipolar disorder, and having it triggered or just happen at random. Night In The Woods, though it contains a lot more ideas, could be summed up in a sentence thematically. I’m big on art that communicates something the author is trying to say. I like feeling that connection. I prize authorial intent in the art I love, so I tend to make art with that at least in the back of my mind. Beyond that, music is by far the biggest inspiration. A line or just a feeling from a song will often get me started and keep me going through a piece. Same thing with Night In The Woods, which I elaborated on a few questions ago. But the big overarching answer as to why I make things is this: Earlier in my life I remember being in wonderful places and seeing amazing things, but I felt somehow not completely there. Like I couldn’t grab onto what was happening. Try as I might, I’d see a sunset and feel totally overwhelmed by it, but feel like it was just smoke, there and gone. Like it burned off, like it was somehow wasted. And it made me sad, and as a kid I’d lay awake crying because I felt like everything was just made of paper flying in the wind, totally insubstantial, totally transient. Like I was reaching out for the world and these moments in it but couldn’t touch any of it. Years later, long after I had started making things for a living, I was in a field with Bethany at sunset. It was beautiful. Bethany was beautiful. And I felt that feeling again- this is just here and gone. But I had a camera, and started taking pictures, and the feeling went away. And it wasn’t because of the photos themselves. It was because I have this need to make things in order to grab hold of moments, to be able to place my hand on the universe I guess. I feel things really deeply and strongly a lot, and definitely have been known to tear up over stars or the chorus to a song or whatever, and making things is my way of touching those things, of holding them, of being marked by them and making my own mark. There’s a quote from the documentary about the Bouncing Souls where Johnny X says
"You are not alive yesterday. You are not alive tomorrow. But you’re alive at that moment, If you can grab something for that moment, You have a chance." Yeah. That. I know it sounds cheesy but the big answers always are.
The work is completed when the anxiety has disappeared. That is the proof of its success.
Louise Bourgeois, Artist, Interview with David Klugman, 19 Jan. 1992 (via honeymooninthefridge)
Don’t be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don’t let others discourage you or tell you that you can’t do it. In my day I was told women didn’t go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn’t.
Don’t wait. Writers are the only artists I know of who expect to get somewhere by waiting. Everyone knows you have to dance to be a dancer, you have to sing to be a singer, you have to act to be an actor, but far too many people seem to believe that you. don’t have to write to be a writer. So, instead of writing, they wait. Isaac Asimov said it beautifully in just six words: “It’s the writing that teaches you.” Writing is what teaches you. Writing is what leads to “inspiration.” Writing is what generates ideas. Nothing else-and nothing less. Don’t meditate, don’t do yoga, don’t do drugs. Just write.
DANIEL QUINN (via booksandpublishing)
REBLOGGING TIMES TEN!
Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.
Carl Jung (via feellng)
You have to surrender to your mediocrity, and just write. Because it’s hard, really hard, to write even a crappy book. But it’s better to write a book that kind of sucks rather than no book at all, as you wait around to magically become Faulkner. No one is going to write your book for you and you can’t write anybody’s book but your own.
Cheryl Strayed (via maxkirin)