on a recent visit to the museum of contemporary art in los angeles, we had the chance to see a dan graham exhibit.
much of his work is based on mirror-based sculptures (like this) but my favorite pieces looked at ordinary objects and layouts (like suburban tract homes) and to really examine how repetition of the same thing over and over and over can be both extremely banal yet beautiful.
(which can be said for the mirror images as well, if you put one mirror across from another to produce an accordion effect. or these videos, where one film begets the other.)
i can't find the particular film online, but he also juxtaposed young punk rockers slam dancing at a black flag show to psychedelic hippie music, drawing parallels between the events to show how both had an overwhelming sense of driving passion and community and immediacy of living in the present-tense. they mirrored each other with completely different results, but with the same philosophy behind them.
one thing reiterated during these films was the 60s slogan, "be here, now." to be truly creative, you have to allow your brain to be completely immersed and focused on what it is you're doing, even if it's thinking about something else for inspiration. with worries and distractions clouding your head it's going to be hard to find/allow yourself the time to paint or write or craft or make music. meditate a little, realize how important it is to make time for yourself, and do it. on the same token, doing things like making a collage (see decoupage post) can be soothing, opening your mind to sort through all those thoughts and doubts in a broader, unrestricted way (similar to stargazing, i think).
i've been reading chapters from a book called "time management for the creative person" by lee silber. (at first, the read was pretty cheesy and i resented that this author was typecasting me with certain traits...but the more i read, the more i realize he's right. definitely recommended if you can get past the first chapter.) in any case, this particular passage got me last night, because very often i just sit there, waiting for a muse to hit so i can have an excuse to pick up the guitar or sew something or take a new photo. and when that muse doesn't come, for days or months or years even, it's extremely frustrating and it's blamed on a sort of "writer's block." now i understand i'm going about it the wrong way. the muse is never going to come if i don't invite it through some sort of active medium.
many times action precedes motivation, not the other way around. the motivation to do something comes from within. it is a mistake to wait for inspiration to being working on something. working on it will provide the spark that lights the fire.
"the great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. beethoven, bach, and mozart settled down day after day to the job at hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. they didn't waste time waiting for inspiration," ernest newman said. it's true for any creative. experienced and successful creative people don't believe as much in inspiration as they do in perspiration and self-motivation.