If you are going to do any type of activity…if you want to be really successful at it, you need to take the time to prepare.—Andy Farkas
Andy Farkas is a woodcut printmaker. His work can be found online, in galleries nationwide, and in permanent collections including The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and Savanah College of Art and Design. Andy lives in Asheville, NC with his wife, three girls, two cats, and one dog.
What time do you get up?
Between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.
What time do you go to sleep?
Ideally 10, though often it’s later to be able to spend some time with my wife after a long day working and helping with the kids.
Is your creative work your full-time job?
No. I’m also a graphic designer. I keep those worlds as separate as I can.
Do you wait for inspiration before you begin or do you begin regardless of inspiration?
Inspiration is fluid and fickle and can come on it’s own or after something is begun. The artistic practice in that sense is more like a discipline: practice and receive inspiration as it comes and don’t be disappointed when it does not. Also, my chosen medium allows space for simple “work” more like focused labor, chiseling away blank spaces, repetitive carving areas etc.
How many hours a day, on average, do you do your creative work?
Difficult to answer that. I consider a good day 3 hours minimum. However in this stage of my life with family and work this is possible only 2-3 times a week. On those days I get between 3-6 hours of work done.
At what point are you done for the day?
When I feel like I’m done or am forced to quit by circumstance.
Do you work primarily in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
Ideally the morning, however with work and kids afternoon is when most artwork happens. I try not to work late because tiredness decreases my focus and more mistakes happen.
Do you have a daily routine for your creative work?
No specific routine for the creative work. And with three young kids the general daily routine shifts constantly so I have to be OK with that. I do usually make a cup of tea before sitting down to work though.
How does it end?
How it ends is I’m usually needed for some other job or task.
Do you have a dedicated work space?
If yes, do you have anything in your work space to encourage creativity?
The space is simple and relatively sparse, I bring out what I need for a given task and have it within easy reach and usually no more.
How do you stay focused in a world of the internet, social media, interruptions, and other distractions?
With difficulty. I find solace in my tai chi practice, which I try to find time for daily. The act of creation is also itself an effective refocusing away from distractions. The greatest distraction is after all your own mind, not the gadgets.
How do you maintain your creative energy? Breaks? Naps? Foods? Meditation?
I don’t try to consciously maintain it, I try to be sensitive to when it comes and when it goes.
What other activities do you engage in to encourage your creativity outside of your creative work time? Walks? Reading? Other arts? Entertainment? Socializing?
I do all of those things. But it’s the things that increase my connectedness with the world and exercise my intuition that inform my best creative work.
The deeper stuff...To listen to the conversation with Andy on The Creativity Habit podcast: