Art Works Blog

Sneak Peek: NEA Arts

"If you're doing it right, it's all inspired work." —Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Author Jack London once wrote, “Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club.” These words imply what most artists already know: that inspiration is not a divine force that flows unbidden. Instead, it is the result of continuous work, research, and observation. Although the proverbial “Aha!” moment does arise on occasion, the process that spurs this moment is where the true creative magic lies.

In the new issue of NEA Arts—set to go live on Monday—we spoke with artists across the disciplines about inspi­ration, and how it figures into their creative endeavors. How do they define inspiration, and where do they seek it? Who inspires them, and whom do they hope to inspire? How is fresh inspiration found within familiar themes, and conversely, what happens when the usual sources of inspiration suddenly run dry? The answers we received from those we interviewed were, not surprisingly, altogether inspiring.

Check back on Monday to read our conversations with author Sherman Alexie, photographer Muriel Hasbun, poet and performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, architect Jeanne Gang, and more. 

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