The American artist Larry Rivers was asked to describe a day in his life – how he worked. He said, “In the morning I get up, have breakfast with the family, read the papers; then I go off to the studio. I hop into bed and go to sleep”. Hopefully to dream. How can you beat that for motivation?
What works best for me is working towards a goal - having a date and plenty of time to get there. Sometimes there is not enough time. Then the back is against the wall, the pressure is on, and when that happens, often the best comes out.
The hardest is to work when there is nothing to look forward to, no exhibition or commission, nowhere to show the work that lives inside me. What then? How do I get going? The question becomes broader – what am I living for? For me to be alive means that I must absorb and produce, no matter what.
Some artists are compulsive – they have to work every day of their life; maybe it is some sort of safeguard against drying up. Who knows? Maybe I am also compulsive in that I find myself working even when I am not actively making my work. Living is work. Absorbing what life has to offer is part of work. And then comes the doing.
I see myself as a worker without a boss, and if there is a boss, he is inside me. The inner boss is the driver and sometimes he can be relentless, sometimes not, but the need to do is always there.
And if I really want to get serious about all this, it is the sensation of achievement, the joy of giving, that makes me feel good as a human being.