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Adam Moss and the Creative Process


When I quit my magazine job, I decided to try my hand as an artist. … I got frustrated easily and gave up easily, never knowing when to persevere or surrender. …

My curiosity is earthbound: Where do [artists] begin, and what do they do next, and when do they know they are finished? And more crucially: What do they do when they lose faith? Do they lose faith?

In an adaptation from his new book, The Work of Art: How Something Comes From Nothing, former New York magazine editor Adam Moss shares his interviews with Kara Walker, Louise Glück, and Cheryl Pope, about their respective creative processes [Vulture]. My favorite part is the intro, though, where he talks about his own process (“that was the beginning of my torment”).

I’m hoping the answer to the “persevere or surrender” question is in there very explicitly, by the way!

Discussion  2 comments

Louise Hornor

Great article! This part of footnote 12 really stood out to me: "...she was concerned with technical problems regarding its physical construction. But listening to her, you might have thought it was a building project rather than an artwork: At no point did she seem concerned with how to give it its visual power, which to me was such an important factor in its impact." As a creator, I am always preoccupied with the technical problems and not the impact. My work is the creating and not the experiencing of the final thing. Does that make sense?

Edith ZimmermanMOD

It does make sense. I keep thinking about snippets from this book & excerpt (I have the book but haven't read it yet, beyond the introduction, which I very much enjoyed). Like you, I think it's a losing game to worry about the experience of the final thing. Although I'm also looking for ways to translate that rational knowledge into a deeper, more emotional knowledge. How to REALLY not worry what others might think...

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