Creativity is not an endless stream

December 10, 2018

There are so many myths and misconceptions about how artists are and should be. One moment I might have a revelation about bad thinking patterns that might be hurting my work, maybe at the advice of another artist, but then shortly after I find myself falling into the same trap.

Expectations about what you could make, how often you can make it, limitations coming from the capitalist nature of the art world, creating sellable items, and the list can go on. I ran into Bruce Nauman’s exhibition at MOMA and there he has a piece addressing this issue. A plaster cast of a reversed face, (maybe of the artist’s?) shoots a steady stream of water into a utility sink. Whether the stream is input, output, or both is hard to tell. Then I came across an old post by one of my musical inspiration of mine, Colleen, talking about hitting creative walls. I have always known that the glass needs to be refilled, but despite this in the energy of the moment, over months, we may forget too. Life, work, needs get in the way, but I have learned to embrace these down moments, giving the space and time for ideas to bubble up from down below, to gestate, reformulate, synthesize. Maybe one day my wave will even out, but so far the patterns seems to be of ebb and flow, an oscillation between the needs of life and euphoric creativity.


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Written by Matthew Ortega who lives and works in Valencia, Spain
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