15 Famous Creatives On Finding Inspiration And Turning It Into Art

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To help spark some creativity, read the wise words of these 15 creatives on how they source inspiration and approach the creative process.

Creators of all kinds should take comfort in the fact that at some point or another, every legendary actor, musician, painter and poet has found themselves in the throes of a creative block. To help you climb out of your own rut, read the wise words of these 15 creatives on how they source inspiration and approach the creative process.


Patti Smith, singer-songwriter and author

“When I’m sitting down to write a poem I’m not thinking of anyone. I’m not thinking about how it will be received. I’m not thinking it will make people happy or it will inspire them … But when I’m writing a song I imagine performing it. I imagine giving it.”


Jony Ive, industrial designer

“What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, but it is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but the next day there is an idea. I find that incredibly exciting and conceptually actually remarkable.”


Haruki Murakami, author

“There aren’t any new words. Our job is to give new meanings and special overtones to absolutely ordinary words. I find the thought reassuring. It means that vast, unknown stretches still lie before us, fertile territories just waiting for us to cultivate them.”


Jean-Michel Basquiat, artist

“I don't think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life."


Rupi Kaur, poet

“If I can read a piece that I’ve written, and by the last line, it kicks me in the stomach, then I know that I can share this online.”


Kanye West, rapper and designer

“When you first wake up don't hop right on the phone or the internet or even speak to anyone for even up to an hour if possible. Just be still and enjoy your own imagination. It's better than any movie.”


Bob Dylan, singer-songwriter

“The environment to write the song is extremely important. It has to bring something out in me that wants to be brought out. It’s a contemplative, reflective thing.”


Toni Morrison, author

“I’m a believer in the power of knowledge and the ferocity of beauty, so from my point of view, your life is already artful—waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.”


Florence Welch, singer-songwriter

“When you're heartbroken, you're at your most creative—you have to channel all your energies into something else to not think about it. Contentment is a creativity killer.”


Andy Warhol, artist

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”


Greta Gerwig, actress and director

“In some ways, your job is to listen as much as it is to write. And to listen to what it is these characters that are coming through you are telling you.”


Jerry Seinfeld, comedian

“All good comedy comes from a place of anger. Figure out what’s making you angry and work on it from there.”


Milton Glaser, graphic designer

“I just start working. I find that once you are on the path it leads you to many solutions. Not all solutions are extraordinary, but at least there is a methodology.”


Julianne Moore, actress

“I prepare very stringently. I really know my lines. I really think about what I’m gonna do … Then, when the camera goes on, I’m ready to have an experience.”


Margaret Atwood, author

“It’s not a question of sitting around wondering what I’m going to write. It’s a question of sitting around wondering which of the far-fetched and absurd ideas I’m actually going to try to tackle.”

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