Thursday, August 22, 2013

Making it Good

This week as I have been working on getting a new set of paintings done. I was thinking about what motivates me to do this. It made me reflect on the fact that I have been investing so much time into trying to be successful at my art. It dawned on me what it was. When I stopped working to get ready for having my kid I spent a good deal of time depressed. I would literally spend the whole day in the apartment watching television, and accomplishing next to nothing. I have spent my entire life working. My parents own their own business and when I was a kid I worked for them, and learned to understand the value of being a productive member of society. I worked through all of college, and even during high school. I really didn't know how to function without a job, since it had been so long since I had had that kind of freedom.

Then it came to me. Sadly it didn't dawn on me till after I had the kid, but it came to me none the less. I had gotten a degree in art, and I had a ton of creative ideas floating around in my head. What I lacked was the confidence to do anything with it. I didn't know that I could make a job out of the things I like to do. When I worked for my parents I hated it. Honestly, I think that is how it is for most kids working for their parents. When I worked during college, and even after, I was doing things that I was good at, but not really something I truly cared about. I would get bored, and not really want to excel at it. But I realized that I had this degree, and I could actually make art.

I know that I am not famous, or even that great of an artist. (Though I am working on that.) What I do know is that the more I do this, the more capable I become, and more likely that I will create something that people will appreciate. After school I that thought that, because I wasn't automatically great at art that it was something that I really couldn't pursue as a career. The thing is that through most of history, before colleges, and before organized schooling people learned through apprenticeship, and actually practicing their craft to become good at it. I cannot get better if I don't produce, and in the mean time I can get my name out there, and maybe get some recognition along the way. The more I work at it the better I will get. I wasn't born knowing how to ride a bike. I will not be a success over night. I will have some hit a miss along the way, but the more I do it the more hit I will have, and the less miss I will make.

I just have to make it important. I cannot just give up, because I am afraid of failure. If I never get back on the bike, because the first time I sat on it I fell. Then I will never learn to ride. I cannot say to myself, "Yes I could have been a great bike rider if I had, had the time."  If it is so important, than make the time instead of living in a world of regret. I have learned from those months of inactivity, that I cannot pass up a chance to do something, and get better at it, because if I do then I will be stuck on that couch forever, and end this life with only regrets instead of memories.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting Started

I have had many blogs before. I had a live journal for crying out loud. I have always love to document my thoughts and feelings about things, but I really haven't been that good at consistency. I guess that makes me human. I have to suck a things, and being a blogger may be one of those things that I suck at. That is why it has become my goal to become better at this. I have decided to attach my writing to the creation of my art. By documenting my processes and new pieces I will be forced to write more often as I create work more  than I write.

Short introduction: I got an art degree in 2010 that really didn't get me anywhere. I spent the next two years doing data entry for different companies, since my degree didn't prepare me for the outside world. I didn't know how to practice my art without school to help me, and I didn't have any avenues to go down for inspiration. After two years of drifting my husband and I decided that I would just quit work, and we would begin our family.

Being a person who is completely incapable of sitting still I went back to my artistic roots and started to make art again, now that I had all of this extra time on my hands. I had to get creative to be creative. I needed to learn how work around my own impairments when it comes to art, and that is what I am going to write about today. We all hit this creative wall, this thing that keeps us from taking our creative ideas and actually bringing them into reality.

I have a hard time starting a project. There I said it. I can sit there and think about all of the different things that I would like to put down, and make into art, but when it comes to starting there it this fear that has a tenancy to take over. I look at the blank paper, or the unsoiled supplies, and think that my first move has to be genius or I will not turn out right. I have to make it perfect, and then all of that pressure builds up behind me and I freeze. I sit there looking at that blank paper and think "Oh crap! I can't do this without messing up."

This was part of why I didn't do anything with my art experience after school. Before I had motivation to actually do something, because if I didn't turn in my assignment no mater how bad it ended up I wouldn't get a grade, and I just can't handle the idea of failure. That out weighed my fear of messing up. Now without motivation and a degree under my belt I felt that everything I did had to be amazing, or that degree would be useless, and I therefore would be useless.

That is the worst lie we can ever tell ourselves when we start the creative process. Creating means that it is going to start out, and not really make sense, it also means that what you thought it was going to be in the beginning isn't necessarily what it will be in the end. If you were to look at a line on a piece of paper you really cannot determine if it will be a picture of a dog, or a completely abstract expression of feeling. They couldn't be more different but they both started with a line of some sort.

I had to come up with a way to break the fear. What did I do?  Well, I don't start out with a blank piece of paper any more. I cannot be afraid to make the first mark if it has already been done for me. That is why I have started work in the collage format. I use old thrift shop art that people have discarded as my canvas and then I paint into it what I think will make the piece more socially relevant to today.

Everyone has a creative handicap, but also everyone has creativity in them. It is not enough to just think that because you have gotten yourself stuck in a loop, where you think you are incapable of creating anything, you have to think around your issues. Deep down inside there ideas, most of them probably half baked but they are there, you just have to find a way to get them out. Don't start with a blank piece of paper, or scribbling first making as many bad marks as you can before you start, so that when you do eventually start you will see the value of that first deliberate mark.

It is just as important that you take the time to exercise your creativity as any other part of your body, because like any other muscle if you don't use it, it will atrophy and you will be stuck in a mind that has a dead imagination. Have faith in those half baked ideas, remember one wrong stroke is just the first stroke on the way to genius. Genius is made up of many okay strokes that add up to awesome, if you don't keep making them you will never get to genius and will be stuck with a couple of okay lines.