The Creative Process and the 99% Perspiration Theory


"Inspiration is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" I have been a devotee and believer of this slogan for a long time but now I am revisiting this idea. I have my doubts that just hard work will lead to great stuff. There is more to creation than pure sweat and tears, if fact a lot more than meet the eye.

Working hard will get your juices going, but so many mediocre works have been created with a lot hard work but in the end of the day, they are uninspiring. So, yes to inspiration, whatever that is. Inspiration is a combination of so many things, some obvious ones, others are more unspeakable. Inspiration is nonsensical by nature and the mystery is what fuels our interest and make things come alive.

Inspiration to me is what connect us to something special and makes us feel something, it transforms us and make our lives better in some way. Inspiration is what we don't understand, but is there. We get there by accident, hard work, study, meticulous analysis, and calculated geometry to name a few. It is almost like we must provide all the right ingredients and hope that inspiration just hit us like a lightening. The right mood is necessary.

I notice that when I am feeling energetic, well and alert, it is much easier to have ideas and to actually bring them to life. It takes a lot of energy to create new projects that are of any value. So, I put much emphasis in working out, feeling strong, doing yoga sleeping well and all the other good things we need to do to feel well. If I am waking into the studio feeling tired, is the sure recipe to crappy work. Some people get inspired by a big messy bench, not always the case with me.

Sometimes I spend hours cleaning and organizing the shop. I go to great lengths to find the right places to put my tools. I organize them as if I were creating something of beauty, like a design or an exhibit. By paying close attention to my tools, specially the new ones, I end up learning better ways to use them. All of this will facilitate the creation of new pieces and I believe these steps are all imprinted in the work. Maybe someone will perceive that as inspiration but in the end is just order and Feng Shui. But we must be careful not to be too neat, that too can be a distraction.

Beauty come to us in our most pure and reflective moments or we are awarded it by pure and random accidents. Sometimes we induce these accidents. Sometimes a crazy messy bench will actually do it. These are the kind of moments when you just let go. Take a big chance and just do that cut, go a little deeper and take chances, risk screwing it all up but get lucky in the end. That too has its place. Unexpected results sometimes are filled with life and energy. People perceived that as inspiration, errors are a mark of being human.

Yes. Inspiration does exist but it does in a very ethereal and surreal universe. Inspiration is elusive most of the times, and not something you can touch or retain. It must be cultivated with a lot of love, and we need to provide the right environment and nutrients so it can materialize. Hard work is simply hard work. Inspiration is something else.





Leave a comment