Artist puts creation before inspiration

SOME sharks die if they stop swimming. Similarly, an artist’s creativity can shrivel up if they stop creating.

It’s this idea that fuels the exhibition We Stop We Die by Warrnambool artist Nathan Pye.

A graphic design and media teacher at South West TAFE, Pye has been undertaking an artistic regime of “a drawing a day”, using everything from pencils and paint to computer graphics programs to create a new piece every day for the past “220-something days”.

Those works form the majority of We Stop We Die, which finishes up at the Lighthouse Theatre on October 30.

“I saw an artist online doing 3D artwork and doing what he called ‘everydays’,” Pye explained.

“He started off doing drawing, because he wasn’t a good drawer, and so he did that every day for a year straight ... to improve.

“Then he moved on to Photoshop Illustrator and 3D projects and now he’s up to 2200 days or something and his 3D stuff is just insane.

“I was also looking at a lot of tattoo artists, and I respect them for the amount of work they do, and such nice drawings, and I realised that’s what they do every day.”

While it might seem tricky coming up with a new artwork each day, Pye said it has been liberating, citing a quote by American artist Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

“I can already see how important it is to keep going whether or not you want to or whether you’re quote-unquote inspired,” he said. “If you just don’t care and you know you’ve got to make something, you can make something. 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s not the best thing because you’ll make another thing tomorrow.

“As a result, you’re a lot looser, there’s less pressure and you end up with something that’s better than if you’d agonised over it. 

“You start belting them out and feeling confident.”

Pye said that some days he will create a new artwork from start to finish, other times he will chip away at a larger work, but always he spends a minimum of an hour working on creating art each day.

“I can’t stay up super late because I’ve got a 9-5 job, so I started sacrificing other things — like I haven’t watched TV since I started it.”

You can follow Pye’s “drawing a day” efforts by visiting and clicking through to follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

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