I drifted away from why I love creating art — so I made a point to find my way back. Here's where that led me (spoiler alert: new art).
It happens to the best of creatives. The making of art becomes about the outcome. This manifests itself in different ways. Let's be honest, we're worried about the sale. "Will someone 'like' this enough to buy it?" Or maybe we're worried about connection. "Is anyone going to 'get' it?" We're even scared of production. "How the hell am I going to make this and how much is it about to cost?"
So we tailor our art practice to the market. But it's fine because we're still being creative and still doing what we love! But are we? Do we love what we're doing?
Do I still love this???
In December 2022, I realized something frankly just sad: I couldn't remember the last time I drew anything for fun. I couldn't remember the last time I painted to experiment. Every part of my process had become dictated by the express goal of ending up with a finished work of art. Sketches only existed to become something else. For measurements, for compositional reference, just a single step, ultimately meant for the eyes of someone else. Videos of my process for the internet, became a part of my process. All of that took me away from the MAKING of art.
So January rolled around, and I went to an art residency. Per usual, I had a defined plan for my time there, and on day ONE it fell apart. Why? I wasn't feeling it. No deep explanation. I just didn't like what I had planned months before. So there I was, in an art supply store in France with no plan, being forced to create with no agenda for the first time in at least 2 years. So I went back to where I started: drawing and watercolor painting. I sketched ideas that were collecting dust in my mind for longer than I could remember.
Some of them sucked. And it was perfectly fine! I forgot that was fine. Some were great but had no soul. But a couple were amazing and became the installation proposals I'm working through now. More importantly, I was having fun. In that moment, I realized I forgot how to play. I DO still love this. I just forgot about the best part.
At this point, I bet you're guessing, "this was the reminder, she's going to start doing stuff for fun". You'd be guessing wrong.
I got back February 4th. I had the best intentions. Then, you know, bills and life and friendships and business and bills and business and bills and I looked up. It was March 15th. I lost a month. If it wasn't for my "mandatory" daily social media posts, I'd struggle to even remember what happened in all that time. I started so many pieces for the spring, but I was stuck. I couldn't finish anything. So I decided to play.
Did I have time to play? No. But I definitely didn't have time to make lackluster art. So I stepped away to play and crossed my fingers I'd find my way to something that made sense. And shocker — I did.
For a while now, I've wanted to explore anthropomorphic fabric. In plain speak, could I make fabric look "human" in my sculptures. It's an effective way to communicate the contrast of so many themes and one in particular I've been simmering on for a while — the nuance of rebellion. So I sketched an idea for a surreal sculpture during my newly mandated art journaling session. It was WAY better than I expected it to be. Hah. So I kept going, and pretty soon I realized this was the thing. I was excited, I was finding flow in the monotonous details. For the artsy people, I was working through fabric studies (and enjoying it). I'm at 12 studies and counting. Here are the first few, one of which I'm sculpting right now!
I share all of this really just from a place of transparency. A reminder to anyone who might need it. Make time for play. Especially if your favorite fun thing turned into what keeps the lights on. I've never been more excited about a body of work. And I wouldn't have gotten here if I didn't actively make time to kill time.