"Inspiration exists but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso.
Since the day I was born and as I grew up in my little French corner of the world I have been asked to suspend my rational thinking and believe in a number of irrational concepts: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God as an old man sitting on a cloud, the Devil as a guy in red with a goatee etc. To this day I am still not sure what I exactly believe in (I might be able to get back to you on this in 40 or 50 years, I am still working on it).
There is one concept that, as an artist, I find especially intriguing and compared to the ones we have seen before, is not even that crazy: the Muse theory.
In the Greek mythology, the Muses were the 9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They were goddesses that each personified one of the Arts (poetry, literature, dance, music, tragedy etc). The Muses breathed inspiration in the artist's mind. The artist was only the hand creating the art, the mouth piece or the vessel. As an artist you were merely serving your Muse. The Muse was the divine influence behind all creations.
I recently finished reading a book about the creative process called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, writer, screenwriter and historian. He firmly believes in the Muse concept and in inspiration coming from a higher place. Your role as an artist is to show up and dedicate yourself to your craft everyday whether or not your work is recognize by your peers, whether or not you make money at it. Showing up to work on your art regularly is your chance to earn the approval of your Muse, to become inspired and create what you were meant to create all along.
"I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp" said Somerset Maugham.
"By performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his. He knew if he built it, she would come" -Steven Pressfield
As a painter I have to admit I am not always sure where my inspiration comes from. It seems that part of it comes from outside influences, images that I discover online or in books. It comes from experiences and children, sunsets and nature and stories I read and I am guessing this is the case for most creative people out there. But what makes me chose to paint precisely what I paint is unclear, elusive and hard to explain yet it seems that no other subject will do for me. I often long to create a giant contemporary piece a la Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose art I love. But it would be a fraud, it would be me pretending to be Basquiat. What I paint is what my subconscious, my soul, my Muse whispers I should paint and as it turns out my Muse is the boss of me.