Starting with the mundane: An artist speaks

Yesterday I met the artist David Gordon for breakfast. We talked about this new series I’m doing  What creators do. What I found illuminating was his take on getting started each day.

I’ve known David for almost as long as I’ve been in the art world, which would make it 16 or 17 years. He’s prolific and highly successful in his chosen niche. 

He’s also been making a living as an artist since his twenties. This is quite a feat. My unscientific data set puts any artist who is making a living solely from their artwork at 1% of the artist population. It could even be the square root of 1%. Whatever it is it’s a fraction of those who’d like to be.

Because he’s figured out how to make a good living consistently in a financially implosive field, David is worth listening to. 

“I have to start with the mundane.”

David was talking about easing into the work for the day; that it’s rarely genius upon beginning, quite the opposite; that it’s best to find your way into the deep work by beginning with what’s familiar.

“Better to start with what you know  then ease into the electricity.”

“It’s not just jumping in and being able to create.” 

“It’s a warm up.” 

“I equate myself with some huge old Cadillac in the yard. It may take half an hour to warm up  but then that baby can go and nothing can stop it.” 

“It might even take me a few hours  but once you get in the zone my God!”

Creators warm up by doing the routine things that get a day going, just like you and me. 

It’s by beginning mundanely that creators get in the flow (that leads to good work) (and immense satisfaction) (and can even lead to greatness). 

Note: This is part of the What creators do series, where I look to people who are creating something meaningful in the world for inspiration and tips  and pass them along to you.

To enjoy a little burst from The World Is Freaky Beautiful once or twice a month, click here.

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