I have been a generalist as long as I can remember. A jack of all trades master of none as I used to hear it said “back in the day”. While I have always preferred to think of it as being a renaissance man or polymath maybe that is just to help myself feel better about the fact that I find it difficult to focus and go deep. I love to learn, I love to experiment and failure doesn’t bother me. Being ADD and dyslexic seems to feed the need for experiential learning and the love for doing many different things. There is a challenge though.
If one looks around my studio or wood shop you will see many different projects in different states of completion. A river table still left in the casting mold, a stack of buffed glass waiting for orotones, fabric, handmade paper and some cardboard hanging out waiting for the final touches of a bookbinding project, frames with one inch clay slabs put aside until the next clay printing session begins and likewise six foot long wooden trays leaned against the wall waiting to be used again for marbling silk scarves. While there is a type of organization to the madness I began to wonder if unfinished projects stifle creativity or release it. When one chases an idea down the rabbit hole there are undoubtedly new synopses and dendrites that fire up in ones brain. But does another piece die when you recognize that yet another project was started? Is there a price to pay in creativity by not following through to completion? I think maybe there is.
In the new year I decided I want to move on as an artist. That is, try to get more serious about making some sales and putting together a website, a marketing plan, and treat my art making and creativity more like a business. I am worried. I like having fun, I love to create and I don’t want to lose the love of making just because I decided to get more serious about it. So, there is that. It sits heavily on my mind.
One of the things that I heard just this morning when watching a video with artist Nicolas Wilton in How to Make Good Art (which was put on by Cory at the Abundant Artist) was that going deeper is somewhat freeing and reaps many different rewards, one of which is better art. I recently was reminded of that somewhere else also though I don’t remember where. Placing some limits on your project, can release some creative juju. (I came back and edited this when I tracked down where it was this week that I also saw that connection.) I know where it was!! It was in the brainstorming section of Marc Rober’s engineering course. Hmmm. Is God reaching out through these folks to tell me to focus a bit more? If I knew for sure God was speaking, it would be a no-brainer to do it. The challenge is we don’t know do we? Prayer has a way of helping to clarify that which you think is coming from God. I will be prayerfully seeking an answer to that for a few days, hopefully I can get some clarity.
There seems to be a constant search for creativity and style outside of myself. I want to figure out how to pull my own personal style out of me, listening to and amplifying my unique voice that has been honed from personal experiences, distilled by failure and decanted into a highly recognizable visual treat that is new and different. That is where I am headed and plan to spend time on in the year 2021. Are any of you moving in a different direction or the perhaps in the same direction but deeper? Let me know what’s shakin’ in your creative lives.