Lately I’ve realized that the best method I have for accomplishing goals is setting them to begin with. Revolutionary, I know.
I’m a big goal setter. Usually. At the very least, I firmly believe in the concept. But occasionally I lapse into this weird space where I’m terrified to set any goals, because that would mean I’ve committed myself to accomplishing them. And sometimes I just don’t want to accomplish things. Sometimes I want to live in that place where anything is possible and I can dream REALLY big because there’s no deadline looming in the future that will prove my goals were too big to accomplish in the first place.
Which is how I see the world when I’m lost in this space. It’s fear, really. One moment of avoidance becomes another, until you have a long string of goal-evasion that has replaced all you’ve previously accomplished. When you have no goals to meet, nothing pressing on your mind that you must work at, ANYTHING is possible! I can be a princess! On a unicorn! On Mars! Continue reading
It’s about walking and talking and sharing our experiences with one another. It’s about laughing as much as it is about crying or being angry and frustrated.
Maybe it’s more about trust than judgement. And maybe life is just that; life until it ends.
Pushing your way through life, really, is no fun. And being pulled through life isn’t really about living either. When one is pushed one ends up in the future anxious and unable to focus in the present and when one is pulled kicking and screaming away from the past it’s almost enough to make one want to end it.
I tend to go into the future a lot. Not so much lately, but in the recent past, most certainly.
And I’ve kind of decided that life isn’t fair and that life is not about equality and that equilibrium, while it may exist is most surely out of whack here in the 21st century as we transition into the unknown.
So many run-on ideas have been colliding in my head since late January…
Photo credit – Jessica Doyle
I want to say upfront that this is just one story from my life, and not a commentary on the gallery system as a whole. My personal experience with “traditional” galleries has ranged from lackluster to unethical (and possibly illegal, but I’ll get to that in a second.) I do not believe they’re all like that. I’m very open-minded about galleries. I’ve simply had great success and enjoyment representing myself, and doing so is not a reaction to anything negative as much as it is a belief in doing something positive.
When I was starting out professionally, I heard from a number of people within the local art scene that I was ready for my own show. So I went out and got one. The gallery I’d found was up and coming, an offshoot of a more successful gallery nearby. The owner (we’ll call him Shawn) was an artist himself, and sold a great deal of work, all at higher end prices, with a pretty significant and growing following in the area. He liked my work, and immediately offered me a show. After securing a date, I heard from fellow artists that although his art “was a bit formulaic,” he seemed to be a fantastic businessman. The openings I attended in the months leading up to my show were lively events.
When I arrived at the gallery the morning of my own show to set up, I could sense a weird and unexpected attitude from Shawn. He was cold and unhelpful. He abruptly announced that I couldn’t use blacklights, a fairly integral part of my art, despite seeming enthusiastic about them a few weeks prior. He further informed me that I wouldn’t have access to half the space I was promised, because another artist was using it. When I firmly explained the necessity of the blacklights, he finally told me I could use a small room through a hall and in the back for this purpose.
I was determined to keep a good attitude about things. Continue reading
It’s easy to forget that our creativity needs practice. We often take artistic abilities for granted, because it’s just “been there” since we were children. Most of us are artists because it comes naturally. Sure we might have to learn discipline about the business aspects, but the art! Hey, that’s the fun part! That’s eeeeasy.
Until you hit a block. Then you spend each day staring at an empty screen or a blank canvas, cursing at the white space, convinced your career is over. The crying. The despair. Or maybe that’s just me. Continue reading
ast weekend I went to a concert of someone I’ve technically known since I was five, and despite the fact that she’s fairly popular, I was woefully unfamiliar with her music and had never seen her perform (unless you count living room karaoke.) It ended up being pretty incredible to watch, not just because the music was awesome (which it was) but because I was witnessing this person that I’d interacted with in a casual way perform as she does best, in her element, in front of her fans, in the spotlight. She displayed a great command of experience and talent in exactly the moment she needed to.
As artists, we’re familiar with this situation to varying degrees. Any time we’re at our own shows, or even doing something as simple as releasing a painting for public view, we summon all necessary skill and confidence into a fixed period of time in which we allow ourselves to be stars, to lead the room in a chorus of our own making. We understand the necessity of doing so, at least in short bursts, especially when we’re promoting something specific.
But what happens the rest of the time? Why do we tend to put our public selves into stasis when we’re not attached to the art? We still have a duty to be artists, which is doing more than making art. We have a purpose to live artistic lives, with intention and passion. Our lives should be as interesting and inspiring as our art. Being an artist is an action, not a title.
Sometimes I just want to slap myself.
I have terrible mood swings regarding my art. One minute I think my work looks great and my career is going to be swell and everything is awesome. The next, I downward spiral into despair that nothing looks good, nothing is working, I’m a hack, it’s going to fail, people will laugh and mock and cry.
It’s all part of my process.
Generally at some point during every single painting I’ve ever made, I love it; I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done. At another point, with every single painting I’ve ever made, I hate it. It’s trash. It’s not worthy of continuing. And I do this back and forth throughout the entirety of creating each piece until I’m finally happy and satisfied with it. Continue reading
A couple of years ago, as I approached a new decade, I decided that I was no longer going to be bashful in my 30s. To me this meant developing the strength I knew was there, and blossoming into the perpetual self-confidence I felt I deserved but never embraced. Why shouldn’t I? I was young, healthy, smart. I had good ideas, and with a little hard work, a great future.
Suffice it to say, now in my 30s, this is still an ongoing struggle.
So what’s the problem? What I didn’t know in my 20s is that being confident is a verb, an action. It’s not a feeling that floats around inside you. Doing the things of a confident person is what makes you confident. You have to do first, feel later. You cannot sit around waiting for confidence to find you, or blame the lack of it on your inability to accomplish tasks. The years continue on around us regardless of whether or not we feel confident enough to participate. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Continue reading
I wasn’t always a painter. Sure, I’d dabbled before, but it was never something that had any sort of hold over me. In fact, I found it boring. Then one day, out of the blue, I had this terrible, burning, incredible need to paint. To really paint.
So, I did the only natural thing to do. I found this awesome painter I was acquainted with, who had a long and successful career as an artist, walked straight up to him and said,
“I want to paint.”
He didn’t blink. In fact, he told me exactly what to do.
The most important thing, he said, was not to spend too much money on materials. Specifically, he told me to start out with house paint, preferably the “oops” paint (the cans that had been messed up at the hardware store), because it was cheaper. At first I thought this was in case I decided I didn’t like painting. A good point, to be sure, but in actuality he didn’t want me to feel guilty using up anything I’d bought. Which I would have.
Then he told me what continues to be the best advice I have ever received about art, ever:
“Don’t make it good.” Continue reading