Inspiration has to find you working.
Inertia — Nº151
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”, uttered artistic titan Pablo Picasso, encapsulating something profound about the nature of creativity and success. As a pioneer of modern art, Picasso understood that waiting for inspiration to strike in a moment of idleness is futile. Instead, he championed the idea that we must be engaged in the act of creation for inspiration to weave its magic.
His statement was a call to action, a creative manifesto that encourages people to immerse themselves in their craft — whatever it may be — and their wellbeing. It dismantles the notion of the artist as a passive vessel, waiting for the muse to come to them. In Picasso’s worldview, inspiration isn’t a whimsical force that graces only the chosen few. Instead, it’s an omnipresent energy ready to align those diligently committed to their work.
Fundamentally, the brain doesn’t work when you keep yourself at a desk for ten hours, scratching your head, waiting for the big idea or drastic swing of momentum to come. Putting your health at the forefront is vital because it always pays off in droves, especially as the best ideas often strike while taking a break, going for a walk, having a shower, or basking in the 4am morning stillness.
Picasso’s quote also implies a profound respect for the process of creation. He recognised that the act of working holds transformative power. It’s where ideas are refined, skills are honed, and the artist’s vision takes shape. By proactively engaging in it, you cultivate an environment conducive to inspiration. It’s a symbiotic relationship where the work begets inspiration, and inspiration, in turn, elevates your work.
Take Picasso’s own oeuvre — a testament to the ceaseless dialogue between inspiration and labour. His career spanned multiple artistic movements (Blue, Rose, the African-influenced, Cubism), each marked by innovation and a fearless exploration of form. Picasso didn’t wait for inspiration, he relentlessly experimented with styles, mediums, and techniques and made it come. His art revolves around the idea that inspiration is not a fleeting muse but a committed partner in our journey.
The “creative genius” doesn’t rely solely on a spark. Picasso understood that sustained creative output needs discipline and a commitment to the grind. It’s a sentiment that resonates not only in art but in various fields of endeavour. Writers, scientists, and entrepreneurs all find solace and motivation in Picasso’s assertion that the key to inspiration lies in the continuous act of working.
The quote also serves as a counterpoint to the procrastination that often forms in the search for inspiration. How many aspiring creators have found themselves trapped in the cycle of waiting for the perfect idea, the ideal moment? Picasso admonishes this inertia, urging people to break free from inaction and over-consumption and move forward unto the journey of creation. Inspiration reveals itself in the act, an active force rather than a passive blessing. A timeless directive and a beacon guiding us away from inaction and towards engagement and the relentless pursuit of our craft.