Bringing Art Making Into Your Life
I feel like I should feel a bit ashamed because I have done hardly any posts in the last few weeks. But I just can’t feel too bad about it, because I have been too busy MAKING ART! Yes its true. And isn’t that the whole point of this blog? To encourage both you and me, to be happily noodling away making stuff? All the time?
And no I haven’t made something everyday, but I do feel like since I started posting that my art making commitment has increased a lot, and everyday I think about art: mine, other people’s, what’s going on with it, ideas for stuff I want to do.
Above: my work is taking a steep learning curve. Top: the simple constructions from my first couple of weeks, and the bottom 3 photo show the increasingly complex stuff I am working on.
I have had several patches in my life where I was in the art making dark ages. The most obvious one, was when I had a baby. This is a tough time to be creative. I have a good friend who is an excellent writer and she actually managed to write very funny [ and sometimes sad] posts while she was pregnant and the whole time up until now when her little personage is a few months old. You can read them here: Life with Gusto. Don’t know how she does it. I could barely dress myself, or organise much beyond getting a bowl of weetbix for myself, feeding my child and changing nappies. I went to the shops to buy clothes for myself when my baby was a couple of moths old, and the deepest thought I could put into it were that I needed some clothes for the top half of me and some for the bottom half of me. So the last thing on my mind at that time was making some art. Although I’d had two exhibitions very recently my arty life went very much on the back burner. An art making black hole indeed.
There are lots of reasons we stop [or have trouble starting] making art. New job, new relationship, studying too hard, illness. Or sometimes its just a general feeling of blah and we can’t motivate ourselves. Sometimes we like to blame external reasons like not having a studio. But you know if you really want to make something you will. Maybe not that twelve foot steel sculpture, but something. The studio one is interesting because its one of the excuses people most often tell me. [No I don’t go round grilling people about why they haven’t made something lately; people just fess up.] The studio I joined recently has quite a few members and many of them have been coming regularly since they joined. But interestingly some haven’t come once. In about 6 weeks. My husband says this is what most people do when they join a gym. They pays their money but they never turn up. They want to, want to exercise, but they actually don’t. I think some people have a romantic vision of themselves making art but they are not really that interested. Thats ok. But for those of us that really do want to make art how can we get motivated?
It took me a couple of years to come out of my post baby art making black hole. It started slowly. One little sculpture, made from, cardboard, newspaper, glue and a piece of wood found on the street. Then another. Weeks would go by and I wouldn’t make anything, then I would do a little something. After a while it became part of my life, and has gradually grown and grown.
So here are my top 5 tips for coming out of your own art making black hole.
And once you begin and realise what fun it is, how satisfying, how stimulating, make something else soon, so you don’t forget.
You will improve week by week. You will learn things. You will keep having ideas. You are not just your job, or your family, or your problems. You are an artist.