I generally think the stimulus to an artist making new art is this: dissatisfaction with his past work, and the desire to make something new– something even greater, and something that will impress himself even more.
1. Never stop hustling
“I’m never satisfied, can’t knock my hustle.” – Jay Z
My theory is this:
Be satisfied with your clothes, home, equipment– but NEVER BE SATISFIED with your art.
Being dissatisfied with your physical possessions or tools is a distraction. We think:
“If I just had that new [insert physical possession here] — I could achieve my potential, and truly be ‘happy'”
But the truth is– this is a whack distraction.
What we really want is to make new art, and to make new art which satisfies us.
Ain’t no new tool gonna give you that stimulus to creating new art, that will impress you more.
2. What inspires me
For me, this is what has helped me find more inspiration in my photography and art:
- Elevating my thoughts and mind– via reading philosophy, poetry, or looking at great artwork.
- Getting enough sleep (being able to wake up without the agency of an alarm clock), proper nutrition (nutritionally-dense food like meat, veggies, and eggs), and muscular stimulation (lots of walking in open air, chin-ups, deadlifts, one-legged ‘pistol’ squats, and dips).
- Great music: Any music that causes me to bob my head, to dance, or stimulates me to move my body is good music. The more I can dance, the more I give movement to my thoughts and soul.
3. I am hungry for new ideas and new pictures to express those ideas
I am most passionate about ideas.
Ideas can transform us, and transform the world.
To me, a picture is just a distillation of a thought, an observation, or an idea.
Whenever you point your camera at something, and frame a person, scene, or thing a certain way– you are honoring it. You are showing its significance. You are also showing the viewer how you see the world.
Your vision of the world is the most valuable gift you can give your viewer.
4. Why stop growing?
Imagine you were to live 1,000 years. Would you want to be 100% satisfied with all the pictures you’ve already made? No way Jose.
It is dissatisfaction that gives us the hunger to keep learning, to keep growing, and to keep producing new art.
For example, a tree is constantly seeking for MORE nutrition, MORE SUNLIGHT, and MORE RESOURCES. A good tree will constantly burrow her roots deeper and deeper into the earth, will constantly extend her branches closer and closer to the heavens. A good tree will want to fulfill her hunger to extend her branches, and grow steadily — slowly.
5. Seek steady growth– forever (or at least until you die)
So friend, to sum up:
Seek satisfaction with your lifestyle, clothes, car, home, food, coffee, money, and tools– but NEVER be satisfied with your pictures and art.
I think most of us (assuming we don’t die in a texting-while-driving car accident) will live to be at least 80. Assuming we dodge heart disease, cancer, and other diseases– we might make it to 100 with modern technology. Isn’t that enough time for us to explore our creative potential– and to create art that will reverberate for future generations to come?
Never doubt yourself, and be creative everyday.