15 NUGGETS OF INSPIRATION
Updated: Jun 3
...FROM ARTISTS | Artists have a way of forming those essential truths of life into the most beautiful works, but in a way those without such creative genius, just can't. The book, Art is the Highest Form of Hope, brings wisdom, from well-known artists, that are actually great suggestions for a philosophy on the approach to everyday life. Just as some may study Sun's Szu's Military strategy,"The Art of War" for business strategy, you could consider these 'wisdom nuggets' for an approach to every waking day. Our insight is that a life lived well is no longer just a rat race, it becomes a masterpiece. A masterpiece in such, that the secret to truly living well, is a simply a subtle art form. Hence, to take advice from successful artists on such an approach, well, just seems to make sense. ENJOY & EVOLVE, FRIENDS.
1. BE ORGANIZED // EUGÈNE DELACROIX
In 1823, the French Romantic artist wrote in his journal: “Cultivate a well-ordered mind, it’s your only road to happiness; and to reach it, be orderly in everything, even in the smallest details.” FOR SOME, OUR AESTHETIC OCD GIVES US LITTLE CHOICE HERE ;)
2. USE YOUR PAIN // YOKO ONO
You don’t need to go out of your way to hear Yoko Ono’s wisdom. In March 2016, she tweeted, “Don’t get rid of negative emotion, but just use it … like the salt in your food.” LIFE IS FULL OF PAIN. OFTEN MORE THAN JOY. LEARN TO USE AN OFTEN TOO-AVAILABLE RESOURCE AS A SOURCE OF FUEL AND SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO. LET'S BE REAL. IF YOU LEARN TO BREATH THAT SH*T IN, CONSUME IT WITH ALL YOUR BEING, AND SPIT IT BACK OUT IN LIFE'S FACE, IN A PRODUCTIVE WAY, WHO'S THE BIG WINNER? YOU, DUMBY. THAT'S WHO.
3. STAND BEHIND YOUR WORK // APRIL GORNIK
American landscape painter April Gornik has some advice for the meek and self-effacing: “Don’t pretend that you’re not proud of your work.” BE HUMBLE, BUT BE PROUD. I CAN STRUGGLE WITH THIS. I ALWAYS SEE THE IMPERFECTIONS OR WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE VS. PURPOSEFULLY TRYING TO DOWNPLAY MY WORK. SAME IN LIFE. LEARN TO OWN EVERY ACTION, AND YOU LEARN TO OWN YOUR LIFE.
4. EMBRACE A LITTLE CHAOS // FRANCIS BACON
The British painter Francis Bacon, who died in 1992, was one to embrace the randomness of the world around him. New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman’s 1998 book Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre, and Elsewherequoted Bacon as saying, “I believe in a deeply ordered chaos and in the rules of chance.” TO ME, THE CHAOS AND ACCIDENTS ARE HOW I TYPICALLY ACHIEVE MY BEST DESIGNS. I MAKE A MISTAKE, AND IT ACTUALLY LOOKS BETTER. ACCEPT CHAOS AS PART OF LIFE, USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE LIKE A DAMN INVISIBLE FORCE.
5. ENJOY THE RIDE // ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG
The Modern artist Robert Rauschenberg, winner of the 1993 National Medal of Arts, among other honors, advised trusting the journey. “I don’t know where I’m going but I’ll get there on time,” he told The New Yorker in 2005. He died in 2008. THIS IS A DAILY THING. PEOPLE THAT BUILD FROM THE GROUND UP AND TRY TO TELL YOU THEY HAD EVERY STEP OF THAT LAID OUT AND EXECUTED AS PLANNED, ARE FULL OF SH*T. THE REST PAID FOR THEIR SUCCESS (OR WERE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE BORN INTO IT IN SOME WAY). IF YOU START AT THE BOTTOM, YOU GOTTA LEARN TO RIDE THAT WAVE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE WAVE (LIFE), BUT YOU CAN LEARN TO MANIPULATE WHERE IT TAKES YOU BY BEING AWARE OF ITS FORCE ;)
6. JUST KEEP GOING // VINCENT VAN GOGH
Vincent van Gogh had similar guidance to Rauschenberg’s: “One must go on working silently, trusting the result to the future,” he advised. DAILY. TRUST THE F*CKIN' PROCESS. BELIEVE IN, IF NOTHING ELSE (EG. GOD, LOVE, HUMAN NATURE, ETC), YOURSELF.
7. GET A DAY JOB YOU DON'T HATE // JANE HAMMOND
The contemporary New York City artist has some decent advice for anyone who’s chafing at a soulless day job. “Find something to do that will make you some money, that can support your art, and that you can become good at so you can make a decent wage and that you don’t actually hate,” she said. EVEN IF ON THE SIDE. START DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, OBSESS OVER IT, UNTIL YOU MAKE IT YOUR 9-5.
8. HAVE FAITH // GERHARD RICHTER
If you’re going to trust in the process, though, you’d better do it with a heavy dose of faith, according to Gerhard Richter. “I believe that you always have to believe,” he said in a 2011 interview. SEE #6.
9. BEWARE OF YOUR OWN SUCCESS // PABLO PICASSO
“Success is dangerous,” the incredibly influential Cubist Pablo Picasso said in a 1956 interview with Vogue. “One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.” NEVER LET 'WINNING' MAKE YOU A MISERABLE A$$ TO BE AROUND. IF YOU DO, YOU ARE LOSING.
10. LEARN FROM FAILURE // AI WEIWEI
Most successful artists have experienced some degree of failure, whether it’s years spent trying to achieve a moderate degree of fame or a flop of a project after they do become well-known. “The only thing we can do is honestly learn from our falls,” the world-famous Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei says. IN 'BUSHIDO' THEY BELIEVE THAT THE GREATEST TEACHINGS IN LIFE, COME FROM FAILURE. THINK ABOUT THAT. DO YOU LEARN MORE IN TIMES WHEN YOU 'VE GOTTEN HURT, F*CKED SOMETHING UP AND LOSE? OR WHEN WINNING COMES EASY? (EG. SPORTS, LOVE, WORK, RELATIONSHIPS) ACCEPT IT. LEARN AND MOVE FORWARD.
11. LOOK FOR THE UPSIDE // SALVADOR DALÍ
Ai Weiwei isn’t the only artist who has preached embracing failure. “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature,” according to remarks from Salvador Dalí’s diary. REMIND YOURSELF DAILY OF SOMETHING YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR, EVEN IF A HORRIBLE DAY. THE MENTAL TRAINING HELPS RE-BALANCE DESPITE THE FEELING OF BEING BEATEN DOWN FROM THE DAY.
12. BE BOLD // ANDREA ZITTEL
Californian artist Andrea Zittel, who specializes in installations and sculpture, also cautions against being too fearful of future stumbles. “You have to learn to feel confident about the prospect of failing because it’s so inevitable,” she said in a 2001 interview with Bomb. NO ONE HAS EVER CONQUERED ANYTHING, WITHOUT GETTING THEIR DAMN KNUCKLES A LITTLE BLOODY IN THE PROCESS.
13. FIND YOUR INSPIRATION // AGNES MARTIN
“Inspiration is the beginning the middle and the end,” according to abstract expressionist Agnes Martin, who died in 2004 in New Mexico. FIND YOUR MUSE; FOR ART. FOR WORK. FOR YOUR INSPIRATION TO 'LIVE LIFE FULL.'
14. LOOK AT THINGS YOU LOVE // DIANE ARBUS
All artists have different ways of sparking inspiration, but 20th century photographer Diane Arbus had this practice: “I like to put things around my bed all the time,” she explained at a lecture in New York City in 1970. “Pictures of mine I like and other things, and I change it every month or so. There’s some funny subliminal thing that happens. It isn’t just looking at it. It’s looking at it when you’re not looking at it. It really begins to act on you in a funny way.” I STRONGLY BELIEVE MY ENVIRONMENT HELPS INSPIRE ME, EVEN IF SUBCONSCIOUSLY. WHATEVER WORKS. DO IT.
15. KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT // ALBERTO GIACOMETTI
While the creative life might be vital, it’s important to have priorities that include the world at large, according to 20th century Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. “In a burning building, I would save a cat before a Rembrandt,” he once remarked. And no, he wasn't saying he hated the Dutch master. THIS SHOUDL BE #1. NEVER LOSE FOCUS ON WHAT TRULY MATTERS IN LIFE. IN THE END, THAT IS THE SH*T THAT MAKES YOU A SUCCESS.