Ordinary Artist

Learning to accept myself

That’s something I’ve struggled with; as an artist, an individual, a husband, and a father.

But why is that important?  What makes this “acceptance” so important to me (or to you for that matter)?

The myth

There’s a myth about art and artists that’s been floating around forever.  Art takes talent.  Talent?  Like some mystical insight into the world that is only bestowed upon a few lucky/unlucky individuals.

The truth

Art really only requires a focused learning of acceptance of oneself.  That’s it.  Nothing magical about that at all.  Not really anyway.  It’s discipline, hard work, and perseverance that makes someone an artist.

And these traits are either nurtured or condemned by those who would surround an artist in their daily lives.  The most important influencer, of course, is the artist him/herself.

We are all ordinary.

And while I’d like to think of myself as extraordinary the simple truth is that I’m not.

I may be unique.  I have a unique set of characteristics and traits that allow/force me to work in the art realm.  These traits, while seen as weaknesses or strengths (pick your poison), are really just a different set of traits than anyone else but no more special/better/worse.

There is a trait, inherent in my persona, that forces me to try every attempt to overcome obstacles.  This trait doesn’t allow me to think in terms that I’m doing the best right now at any given particular task.  I’m forced to look back at past projects and contemplate what I did right and wrong all while simultaneously looking forward to the next task at hand.  How can I use the knowledge and skills gained to better overcome the next hurdle/task/project?  While this sounds like a very positive trait the truth is that it can paralyze me just as easily.

The act of making art somehow engages a profoundly accurate feedback loop of information about what I intended to accomplish and what I actually accomplished.  I either don’t meet my own expectations or I exceed them.  Meet them?  I’ve given up on that I think.  Or I’m lying to myself.

It’s the process

That’s really what making art is about right?  The process.

Here’s something to think about.  Everyone cares about the product.  The finished work.  The print.  Everyone, that is, except the artist.

To me what really matters, I mean when I’m not trying to make a buck off this “talent”, is the process.  Sometimes I sell work sometimes I don’t.  That doesn’t stop me from creating.  Nor should it.  All along, the more I contemplate this, I realize that it was always about the process.

What am I learning about myself through this process of creating?  That’s what’s really important.

I’m finally getting to a point where I can confidently say I don’t care what anyone thinks about my finished work.

Self delusion or self defense?

Perhaps it’s easier this way?

The real questions

If I’m only making art for myself does that somehow equate the finished art to the finished self?  The flawed art to the flawed self?  The successful art to the successful self?  What about when I’m not making art?  Does that mean, somehow, that when there is no process of creating art there is no self?