Some Thoughts On Creative Work

“As a creative person, you must always look for what is not commonplace, what strikes a chord. You feel an intuition about what’s essential. The vital point is that you must trust your own instincts … It never gets any easier … The important thing you learn with creativity is that the tide comes in and the tide goes out. There will be fallow periods when the work is not going well, so it’s best to put that painting aside, just turn its face to the wall. And often, months later when you look at it again, you can see possibilities in it that you couldn’t see when you were struggling with it previously.”

John Olsen

“[My books are] very, very complex in their structure, but, in the end, if anyone can see that they’re difficult, then I’ve failed. If you see the sweat and blood on the page, it’s a disaster. It’s got to seem seamless.”

Nick Bantock

“I am an ambitious person, which has often been pointed out to me, usually critically, because it is not seen as something pure. But surely there’s a nobility in trying to make something beautiful that will last a long time? … I had a teacher who was very good at prompting class debate. One day he asked, is it a good thing for human beings to have huge ambitions that possibly lead to disappointment and disillusion? It was an interesting topic to throw at teenagers. Some felt it was better to have practical aims in life, but I remember strongly coming out for the idea of dreaming big. And in the ensuing years I have often thought about it, because I have seen people go south, people with really great talent and big, wonderful dreams get to a point where it all went horribly wrong and they either fell off the edge or became bitter. I came to realise there is a lot of risk attached to ambition. You could argue that there are other noble human virtues that are better to follow. But I can’t help but be addicted to trying to climb the mountain.”

Neil Finn

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