Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being an Artist

This is an EXCELLENT set of words recently written by an artist I have admired for a long time. Also, he's an excellent guy. So bask in the excellents, and honesty of what he has to say on the subject:

It really, really, is about practice and getting your hands dirty.

It doesn't matter what your last image looked like, only what you plan to do next.

The finished image is a pattern that's already been made. Once you decide it's done, then really all it's good for is progressing away from as a learning tool. Or perhaps marketing. Which might make you a student, or a salesman - but as far as being an artist goes, that only happens when you are making art. The finished image is useless. Maybe it was your masterpiece, or a crappy warm-up sketch with unfamiliar tools - but once you step away from it, then it's no longer art in the making.

Which means don't get hung up on stuff you made that you don't like. It's out of you and fixed into form and frankly inert, unless you do more to it (in which case it's still present tense, not past). And don't preen over stuff you made that you do like, or endlessly regurgitate that thing you do that you think you do so well (or at least do comfortably). Instead, get busy making something else, something new.

Your past creations do not limit nor define your untried future efforts. You are completely free to draw your next image in any way you want, in any way you haven't tried before. Because whatever you made before is dead, unless you choose to bring it with you, unless you choose to stay stuck in it.

That art is dead the minute you set down your pencil. Oh, this is not to say it's not valuable, or worth considering, or admiring or critiquing or whatever. But that's the realm of the viewer, the critic, the colleague, the rival, the fan, blah blah etc. But for the artist (by definition: the one making art) the finished piece, however, is simply in the way to the next thing. It's taking up space on the easel, tying up processing power on your computer, filling up your mind with judgments and assessments of old marks and old lines.

Here's what you do: when you finish something, you turn it over and begin again. And when you finish that, you start something else. And so on, until your hands fail you.

Anything else, from wallowing in your perceived Failures As An Artist - or worse: wallowing in your perceived Triumphs As An Artist sucks away time, thought and energy that you could be using to uncover Whatever Comes Next. You kind of need to stop looking in the rearview mirror and get on with the drawing at hand. Unless, OBVIOUSLY, this does not apply to you :B

tl;dr -

Being an artist does not mean accumulating a collection of beautiful images; mere inventory.

It could all burn in a fire, and it would not matter. It means constantly starting over and making.

-Christ Goodwin ( http://www.goodwinillustration.com/)

Honestly, this guy has a way with words.

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