It’s very hard to not look at what others are doing. It’s very hard not to compare, it’s very hard to stop thinking: I should have started earlier, it will take me forever to get to where I want to be…
I am improving. I know that, but I’m also creatively blocked. It’s like I am saturated with images, colors, styles. It never stops.
This week I have been watching old movies, old by my standards, meaning movies from the ’80s and early ’90s. “That’s it” I said to myself, “I’m who I didn’t want to become: the lady that likes to look back.” But the truth is I wanted to remember what it was like to spend a whole afternoon doing collage, cutting up magazines and then doing stuff with them, without the fear of copyright infringement, without thinking is this a “derivative” work or am I blatantly copying?
The creative afternoons I had when it took me two days to make a mix tape complete with a handmade envelope, a case with all the tracks neatly written down, the letter explaining why each song was there and in that order… the long process of creating and the satisfaction of knowing that you had worked with other people’s stuff but that ultimately the product was yours… I want to feel that because lately as I draw and draw from reference photos, I’m always wondering if I’m creative. Or if I’m just a copyist.
There are days I don’t know what to draw, or what to doodle for that matter. In fact, I don’t know if I want to doodle or if I want to get out a piece of nice watercolor paper and try to paint something nicer.
There are days when I just don’t know where I’m heading with all this.
This past year, I have spent a lot of money on art supplies and maybe artists and hobbists will nod in agreement: Art Supplies are a drug.
But here is the thing, I look through my sketchbooks and I see no clear path, no emerging body of work, nevermind that my drawings are good or not, they have improved but where am I heading?
I started a 100 day project drawing imaginary animals but I stopped at 65. I wasn’t sure I wanted to draw any more animals. I like portraits but I also like sketching objects around me.
Since I started to draw I have become addicted to Instagram and Pinterest. There, I said it. With my morning coffee I browse Pinterest, with my head on my pillow I browse Instagram.
And in between the day, I toggle between the two.
This is the most consistent way of getting yourself blocked. Whether you write, create video or visual art, looking at the constant stream of stuff other people are making is going to block you.
To break this habit apps need to be removed. It’s the only remedy. There is no ” I should stop”, or “I promise myslef”. The only remedy is the dancing app with the little cross.
Sure it’s easy to reinstall them. And even if they warn you: you will lose your data, it’s not true. But the fact that you do not have an automatic gesture to execute, is a good habit breaker.
I discovered Creative Live, and since I’m in between jobs, I’ve had the chance to watch two classes so far.
One was Molly Hatch’s hand-made pattern design and the second one was Bonnie Christine, also pattern design but directlty on Illustrator.
Both women have their inspiration thing down. I loved Bonnie’s approach, she insists on “sourcing our own inspiration”, meaning, take your own photographs and use them as you see fit. Draw or trace them, do whatever but these are yours and whatever you end up creating will be authentically yours from beginning to end.
Molly on the other hand, showed a very rudimentary way of doing patterns, completely hand-made up to the point to where she scans and cleans them up in photoshop. That day was one of those when I exclaim “I love the internet”. I caught both classes live.
While I continue to struggle with the question “what do draw”, I have been seeing whales.
Whales, leviathan’s, sea monsters. I have many ideas but I have a problem committing to a long-term project (like the imaginary animals)…
I think I need an accountability partner, or a mentor or someone who will talk art with me.
I watched Elle Luna’s Should or Must talk. I have certain reservations about her message, but when I read her article the first time, I really felt she was talking to me. There is a long road, lots of experimenting, lot’s of permission to give to oneself.
I bought the book Trust the Process by Shaun Mcniff.
I think I’m in the search for freedom, but I can’t find it because I’m too contaminated by the creativity noise.
What is creativity? It’s a word like Storytelling and Curating: these words are overused and abused. I want to read it once I’m bound for Mexico. I will report back.
The world is full of artists. I wonder if there is a place for me.
Elle Luna’s talk