Lesson 5: Work, Work, Work
Even in a psychiatric hospital, Yayoi Kusama is prolific.
Sister Corita Kent said, “The only rule is work. If you work, it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.”
I have tried every way in the world to stop work-block or fear of working, of failure. There is only one method that works: work. And keep working.
Every artist and writer I know claims to work in their sleep. I do all the time. Jasper Johns famously said, “One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag, and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” How many times have you been given a whole career in your dreams and not heeded it? It doesn’t matter how scared you are; everyone is scared. Work. Work is the only thing that takes the curse of fear away.
My friend, photographer Rohina Hoffman, and I went to the Kusama installation at the Marciano. And we were talking about how it’s not that “Even in a psychiatric hospital, Yayoi Kusama is prolific” It’s BECAUSE she’s in a psychiatric hospital that she is prolific! SO MANY women we know who are artistic are basically squelched due to familial obligations. Getting dinner on the table for the family ranks higher than what can be easily diminished or dismissed as playing around with a hobby. If you aren’t being paid for it (yet) it’s seen as goofing off and cannot be prioritized.