I have decided to start a blog on how NOT to be an artist and I need your help.
This is because for some time now I’ve been feeling the pressure of what it is to BE an artist. The thing is as soon as you call yourself a title – could be any title, then a whole set of expectations seem to automatically land on your shoulders. Actually in my case, I’ve always felt that art chose me, rather than the other way around. Lets face it, growing up there weren’t too many options…. you know, it wasn’t like…Quantum Scientist OR artist? No – it was always ART and it probably always will be.
Now don’t get me wrong I love what I do and I intend doing this for as long as possible, its just these subtle labels that we impose on ourselves which seem to hold
and control and actually limit our creative potential.
Let me give an example. Recently I completed a high profile private commission. When I first got the call, after the initial excitement (always) I thought this is impossible; but then, not being one to say no, I said YES and embraced the whole process. It was intense from beginning to end and completely took over life for 6 weeks – but we made it (Yes I had an amazing team) and the client was delighted.
JOB DONE you might think? Well yes, and yet I felt so completely spent and empty at the end of it that this got me thinking WHY? To my mind, there were a few reasons – firstly that I felt I had not been remunerated fairly (work in progress!) and secondly and more acutely – this looming sense of loss at the end of a project – that suddenly you just have to let go of something that you have created with passion and conviction and intensity.
So, what if I didn’t feel so passionately about everything, that I just ‘did the job’ rather than identify as the sole creator and originator. It was quite clear looking back at the process that my role was to meet the client, understand the brief, then follow through and deliver. In fact this job, like many was multi faceted – not just artist/designer/maker but project manager too. And largely this is what happened! It was kind of miraculous watching it all unfold step by step. Starting with a clear vision and concept then seeing how it evolved over the weeks. It felt so joyous, so natural and organic and not like work at all UNTIL the end! …and that’s when it got me – just how much energy this took – and it was a bit of a dark slippery slope from there and I ended up feeling bereft, rather than elated and happy yet tired.
So my reason for sharing these thoughts is to challenge myself to keep doing what I love- giving 100% but learning how to do that without that sense of ‘artist’ or ‘arsetit’ as my good friend insists on calling me.