Deep thoughts about art, artists and the artistic process.
- Key take away…
- Hint: there is nothing actionable here… Just a random stream of conscious thoughts for you to consider.
Hmm, why do we do what we do…
It’s interesting to me because I’ve met a lot of different creative people in my life, and also a lot of different artists– and they don’t always overlap.
A lot of artists master technical proficiency and produce exceptional visual work, or audio work– they had an interest in something, they pursued it, and create awe-inspiring works. They may not break boundaries or necessarily even work in the unexpected or surprising, but what they make is beautiful and thought provoking. This is someone who is an artist– they have taken a skill to a superior level.
And then there are the creative people. Many of them are not proficient in anything, but their ideas and executions are strange (and not always to anyone else’s taste). Sometimes they only have a few interests– other times, they have many. They are curious, unusual, and maybe a little self-absorbed (comes with the territory). Sometimes, their lives allow them to pursue many of their interests and become proficient at a whole slew of things. Other times, their circumstances lead them to focus early on and they can master those skills earlier than others. These people often tended to be the ‘bright’ kids, who had a talent for various skills at early ages, and they became used to being good at things and then spend the rest of their lives having to prove it to themselves– and never really learn how to focus or really struggle against obstacles.
I’m in that latter half of people, honestly. The only reason I do visual art/illustration is because of all of my skills, it’s the one I managed to put the most time/effort into over my childhood/young adulthood, and when I realized I had to focus on one skill to master, that was the one I chose (also it lets you sit for long periods of time, materials can be extremely cheap, and it’s very self-gratifying at the end of the day). I had other choices– things I loved and am pretty good at: singing, acting, writing, jewelrymaking, costuming, other crafts. In fact, I know for certain that the one thing I would trade all of my art experience for is music composition and performance. Singing is something I literally do in my dreams and the joy I get from it is intoxicating. I miss it. I wish I could find a way to integrate it more into my life and create through that medium.
Until I find or make the time, though, drawing is what I’ve got. And I don’t always love it– and a lot of my best work are things I drew for the sole purpose of proving to myself (and my limited audience) that I’m still ‘good’ at art. I draw for the enjoyment of knowing other people admire my work and myself. I don’t care for compliments, but I like knowing people look upon my work with approval and reaffirm my worldview that I draw pretty things that people thing are pretty.
These days, though, my relationship with my art is changing out of necessity. Life situations, work issues, and other things have caused me to consciously spend more time struggling with my art and increasing my technical skills/capabilities. While I don’t do enough freelance to survive off of it, I try to pick things up when I can (I’m doing an ongoing series of backgrounds for someone’s webcomic, right now). I’m actively pursuing illustration work, and considering a path back to my very first (unachieved) goal, concept art.
But I also went back to university for advertising/marketing (and I enjoy that stuff) so I don’t really know what I should be trying to do for a career anymore???
And of course, I still can’t focus– I’m also making jewelry, and I’m working on costumes, and I have ambitions for later this year to make my own fan visual novel even though literally none of these things make me any money and I’m honestly kind of in dire straits???? And I want to make music and it’s super duper hard to focus is what I’m saying.
To bring it back to the actual theme you discussed, though, I think you guys touched on a lot of truths– different reasons and motivations, different circumstances that allowed for the honing of skill and talent, and differences in our regard for art, creativity, and how it reflects parts of ourselves.
Aaaaand that was a rambling piece of work but also kind of cathartic. So thanks for, uh, the venue.
Thanks for sharing that comment Shadrad. I think a lot of us suffer from the inability to focus sometimes. I often find myself pulled in many different directions a lot. One thing that has helped me is to block out certain time to ONLY work on a particular thing. Saving the weekend for music for example, is one thing that I do. I try not to let my other creative endeavors encroach on that time that I have set aside. Sometimes it doesn’t always work, but it helps to put you in that particular mindset and then you look forward to that time and accomplishing your goals.
Thanks again for listening!