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.
I do feel like the times I feel most adrift, it’s because I don’t have a project to work on.
I tried doing another copy of a masterpiece, this time the aforementioned Kusama. I definitely felt a meditative mindset doing the repetition. Also I wasn’t worrying specifically about each eye, but “maybe the next one will be better.” Eventually I got tired of doing it and gave up before I really had the full page of eyes.