Time for truth:
I have a closet full of “bad art” – art I’ve created over the years – art taking up premium shelf space and collecting dust. There’s no reason to keep my “rejects.” Chances are I will never show these pieces to many others. I don’t “appreciate” them except as failed experiments in my journey to become an artist. By holding on to these pieces and pulling them out time to time, I use them simply to remember where I’ve been. The artist’s journey is full of ups and downs. These paintings, stacked up, inside of my closet are simply snapshots of the struggles of becoming an artist.
Becoming an artist:
Over the years, I’ve learned painting is really challenging. It’s not necessarily easy. You don’t simply dip a paintbrush into the paint, move the paint around the canvas, and suddenly have a good painting. It takes work, skill and confidence. In my case, I painted seven to eight years before finding my visual voice. It was a process to move beyond “dabbling” to becoming an artist in my own right.
Becoming an “artist” happened for me when the focus became more about the process, rather than the end product. It took me years to realize that the art is not about the end result or product. Art was not the finished piece. As I gradually let go of the end result, doing art became less challenging and more freeing. It was about falling in love with the process, and moving beyond the end result.
“Art is not about the finished product. Art is about the process and the conversation happening during and after the product is finished.”
Finding your artistic voice:
I belong to five or six artist groups on social media – places where people post their art, share tips, ask questions and share their struggles with others on the forums. Recently, my heart broke when somebody wrote a post “I’m giving up. My art sucks. Nobody likes my art. There’s so much other good art out here. I can’t do this anymore.”
I know this frustration, in my own artistic life, but I’ve learned to overcome by perseverance. The way to finding your own authentic, artistic voice is just to continue on – keep creating. It’s in the act of creation where the magic happens. That’s why it’s important to persevere. If you have a deep and creative spirit and drive to engage the process – you WILL find your own voice, stand strong and say with authority “This is my art – this is my creation.”
No matter if you are a visual artist, a musician, an actor, a poet, a writer, when you are open to the process, you will become braver and your work will be bolder. You will be more courageous, not simply in your art, but in all your endeavors and achievements. You will open up to a journey you never expected to take.
So...don’t give up!
And this, my dear friend, is why we are here – to be strong, brave and courageous in all we do! This crazy, beautiful, cruel and fucked up world needs us. Be strong! Be brave! And create on….
Peace, my friends!