Joss Whedon talks about it. Most creative geniuses and successful people do it. What, you ask? Fill up the well.
What does that mean, exactly? When you have a demanding career or craft/art, you have to make sure you have plenty of your soul to offer to it. What happens when you run out? That’s when the burn out happens. Trust me. I’ve been there. And I still seem to find my way back, over and over.
So what’s an artist to do? Fill up that well. Discover or rediscover the things that inspire you. Read. Watch a film/play/sporting event. Listen to music. Go on a walk. Travel.
What helps me is getting out of my environment and experiencing art. No matter how much I watch on Netflix, I will never be as refueled or inspired as I am when I wander the halls of a museum. As my well has been greatly dwindling lately, I took a trip to some fantastic museums here in LA.
What a magnificent place. The whole time I was just grateful someone had the foresight to design, fund, and build such a museum for people to come and experience art for FRE.
The architecture and landscape design is breathtaking by themselves, but seeing Rembrandts, Millets, and Van Goghs is simply moving. For me, it’s important to return to the classics.
Annenberg Space for Photography
This small space has rotating exhibits of photographs, and currently they are showing National Geographic images. Powerful photos from the last 125 years line the walls. There was also an insightful film about several photographers playing in the central space of the gallery. One quotation that stuck with me from the film was:
“The photography is almost incidental to their mission.”
These photographers are so passionate about their area of specialty that they literally risk their life to capture an image.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
This visit was, for obvious reasons, very affecting. Nothing puts things in perspective like seeing the human faces of one of histories biggest horrors. The museum is very well done with detailed exhibits and free audio guides. There’s not much you can say about such profound content without sounding trivial, so please just visit the museum yourself.
Whether inspiration, perspective, or just a change of scenery, it is important for creatives to make time for themselves and their spirit. You never know what may lead to an idea for a new project, or a solution to an artistic problem.
Fill up that well. Then your art my help to fill up someone else’s.