Sinking Into the Artistic Process

If You Don’t Feel It, Don’t Do It!

Every day we spend as humans is laborious. We often work to make breakfast, we work to make money, and of course, we work to make art. Among many other qualities, we carry our pain, joy, compassion, suffering and selfishness into any arena that we enter. Through process-oriented work, I’ve often found myself either at odds or loosely flowing with the different ebbs of life, constantly wondering how art fits into the timeline of the daily grind of survival. I still wonder about it.

For me, I’ve realized there is power in sinking into the idea that I don’t have to make art! In fact, I often find myself further divided from the creativity and inspiration that exists all around if I am constantly processing the burden of pressure I lay on myself, especially if I tie my identity too closely to being anything other than how I feel. We’re Human Beings, after all. I often find myself living out the “human” part of the term, but the “being” seems to come less easily. I’ve realized over the course of my lifetime that art doesn’t come from the image or idea of myself as an artist. Usually there is little motivation or feeling in those thoughts for me. However, something I’ve always struggled with is the idea that I have to make art… as though this path is a predetermined scheduling of events that takes shape in the form of always doing more, more, more. Much of that has to do with the enculturation of work in our country, and what it means to be “good” or “good enough” in relation to that, but I’ve found that the constant vacuum of power in never being “good enough” often lends itself to an unproductive artistic process. Why wouldn’t it? What is the point of doing anything if I’m wondering whether I’m good enough to do to it at all? Do I even want to go through the pain of figuring that out?

These are the questions that drive a wedge between me and anything meaningful I produce. However, through noticing the moment, what the shifting in the shadows of leaves looks like, what the silence between conversation with people sounds like, and other indescribable instances of the “being” part of “human,” I find myself closer to the expression of that natural creativity that exists inside me. That’s why statements like “I can’t draw” or “I could never do that” feel misinformed to me. Just because I haven’t come up with a modern-day equivalent to the Vitruvian Man, doesn’t mean I have to. In deciding not to labor over something I don’t feel moved to do, more often than not I find myself automatically moved towards something. I’ve found more meaning in the labor involved with discovering how to fit that something into the rhythm of life I currently march to if there isn’t prior room for it to exist.  FOLLOW THAT SOMETHING!

Featured image: Keith Haring, Untitled, 1983

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