There are certain things I look for or gravitate toward in my work: a strong presence, clarity of form -- a sense of structure, and simplicity. I would not say "minimalism," though this is a popular word: it suggests an excess of simplicity, whereas I would prefer a classical balance and harmony, which assumes you have elements to work with and have not sucked it all out. Limiting oneself is not a choice but a necessity, because there are too many options. The greatest compliment ever paid me was when someone told me my work was strong, yet beautiful.
It's an assumption that what I do will not be too personal and private, but will appeal to people across a broad spectrum, sophisticated and naïve.
In seeking inspiration I believe in the non-rational sources, spontaneity, letting it happen. That's what "inspiration" means, isn't it? That the spirit blows through you, like an aolian harp, playing you like an instrument without your conscious control. I am against working in a way that's too self-conscious, logical, planned, or calculated, or that follows a rhetoric or system to influence people. In my system the audience is free and independent and can react as it wants. Art to that extent follows a democratic social model, though it is still individualistic, and since it is a luxury to make art if not to enjoy it and since it requires talent and rewards genius with the highest admiration, it is also partly elitist.
As I've suggested elsewhere (see 'ORIGINALITY,') I'm against an excessive emphasis on technique.
Openness and non-exclusivity also mean no restrictive schools or categories. All sources are valid for art: other art, nature, non-artists, or found objects.
Therefore not only what fits these rules is valid.
I am uncomfortable with the literary element in art and prefer my work to appeal immediately for its plastic values -- its formal values if you like. Artwork isn't better only after you've heard a lecture on it or read a book about it. It has an immediate visceral appeal like the sound of music and the look and feel of a rug. You just know if it's right; you don't have to be told; it doesn't have to be explained to you. Later you can make up wonderful explanations, and the artist may have them already made up too.
©Chris Knipp. Blog: http://chrisknipp.blogspot.com/