Category Archives: doubt

Why Going Home Makes Me Wonder What the Hell I’m Doing With My Life

childhood-flashback-110

Going home for the holidays is always wonderful. I love seeing my family, lying around the house, eating Mom’s delicious food, enjoying the California sunshine and cuddling with the dogs. I also like passing by all the familiar places of my childhood: elementary school, the corner store, downtown, my first job, the old movie theater, etc. etc. These places bring back memories and remind me of what I am made of.

However, despite all the good things, going home can be challenging too. Back in my original element, I remember my original dreams and aspirations. I think about where I am currently, and start to feel depressed. Am I doing the right thing? Why haven’t a made it to the top yet? Why aren’t I living in a place with more opportunities? Why am I working a full-time job instead of pursuing my career as an artist? Why why why??

These questions started when as a family we watched the Kennedy Center Awards last night. Dustin Hoffman, Led Zeppelin, David Letterman… all these people whose careers reached the point of ultimate success. Who blazed through all the challenges and carved out their own unique niche in the world. I try to imagine what it would feel like to be honored in that way. Could I just give up at that point and be able to spend a week in my hometown without questioning whether I’ve made the right decisions in my life? Could I let myself off the hook once and for all and be happy with the path that I’ve taken? Don’t get me wrong- I am in many ways satisfied with what I’ve done and where I’ve been up until this point. However, I also feel there’s more to do, and more to overcome in order to reach my goals.

As a New Year’s resolution, I’m split. My goals in many ways are contradictory: follow my dream, and yet still manage to enjoy life along the way. Easier said than done, but no matter what I’m determined to be a successful artist and still have a life than is relaxing and enjoyable. The big question is….

Is that possible?????

Image Sources:
http://theberry.com/2010/06/02/back-in-the-day-20-photos/

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HOW TO FAIL AS AN ARTIST.

Hello friends!! I’m back at last. Life has had its ups and downs recently, as it always does. Since my last post, I finished my graduate thesis show, graduated from grad school with an MFA in Studio Art, and started working full-time at the university. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.

I know that I said I’d post a whole big thing about my graduate thesis show, but I’m lazy now. I’m sorry. I did, however, post it all on the film’s website: www.redblobmassacre.com. Check out the Premiere Photos to see images from the event. It was AMAZING!!! It was worth the hard work. I’ll be doing it again in October, 2012 at River Gallery Fine Art in Chelsea, MI: http://www.chelsearivergallery.com/ . A completely different venue than the premiere, but an equally awesome challenge and opportunity!!

Now. The real reason for this post. Duh duh duhhhh…..

HOW TO FAIL AS AN ARTIST.

Now that I’ve graduated from grad school with the masterfully revered MASTERS OF FINE ARTS, the big question is… will I ever make a LIVING as an ARTIST????!!!

Most MFA graduates go on to sustain themselves as Professors, or in other jobs that may or may not be creative in some way. Few of them go on to be the art millionaires whose successes equal those of Damien Hurst and Marina Abromovic. Many who do, are blessed with family funds that sustain their practice and free them from the constraints of having to have another job to survive until they make it big.

As I face the hump of 40 hours a week in my current future, there are obstacles that will keep me from being the free artist that most people envision successful artists to be. But then again, without a job, I wouldn’t have an income to purchase the supplies I need, to sustain my mental wellbeing of health and relative security that may in the long run contribute to my practice as an artist.

My fear, of course, is that from this point on, my career as an artist will FAIL. I will NEVER be an artist again. Goodbye art school, goodbye art practice. Goodbye time. Goodbye inspiration…

In ode to my own fears, I have created a list of ways that I probably could FAIL as an ARTIST. Here they are:

1) Give up before you start again.

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2) Never have the time:

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3) Doubt your ability to make art:

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4) Have too many bills to pay:

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5) Allow your JOB to take over your LIFE:

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6) Run out of IDEAS:

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7) Run out of opportunities:

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8) Have 10 kids:

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9) Decide/realize that art is pointless:

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Phew! I feel better now. When I look back at the list, I admit that there are probably many more ways to FAIL as an artist. But I also see the list and think… well, that’s pretty stupid. I mean, it’s stupid to even fear those things. Because yes, all of them are threats to continuing a life as an artist. But they are also all things that are universal, not shared just by artists, but by everyone who exists each day as a whole. I think it’s okay to experience all of those things at some point in time (although I’m not sure about having 10 kids), but as long as it’s not an ALL THE TIME kind of thing, it should be okay. If the artist suffers just as the rest of the world does, it’s probably better than living in the privileged artist bubble that is completely removed and oblivious to the real world.

I will work my job, and I will enjoy it. I will continue to make art, and enjoy that too. I will have my ups and downs, but I will keep on making. I don’t know what I will make, but that’s okay. It’s good not to know. Perhaps it will be something incredible.

And lastly, I’d just like to say that sometimes FAILURE is not so bad. Failing at something, as long as you try again, is sometimes better than being successful right from the beginning.

Image Sources:

http://charleneburke.com/2011/10/ready-to-give-up-50-things-you-should-give-up-starting-today/ (Ready to Give Up- 50 Things you should give up starting today)

http://thewordthoughtsblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/time.html (Time)

http://katerawlings.com/2012/01/11/self-doubt-youre-not-alone/ (Self Doubt? You’re not alone)

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Bills.gif (Bills)

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/t/time_slave.asp (Time Slave Cartoon)

http://laurencehunt.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-duh-kind-of-day-in-gold-stocks.html (It’s a duh kind of day in gold stocks)

http://www.extracriticum.com/extra_criticum/2012/01/accentuate-the-positive.html (Cartoon: Accentuate the Positive)

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3749964/Mum-on-30k-a-year-in-benefits-seeks-charity-aid.html (10 kids with 4 different men)

http://www.destructoid.com/about-the-art-debate-please-shut-the-f-k-up-226826.phtml (About the ‘art’ debate: Please shut the f**k up)

http://www.destructoid.com/about-the-art-debate-please-shut-the-f-k-up-226826.phtml (Smile Saturday)

Why anything where I have to try and explain myself gives me a headache.

There’s something about having to explain myself in a concise set of words that gives me a headache. I can never quite manage to choose the right words that succeed at wrapping my whole life up into a pretty little bow. I suck at it. Fitting into the bow, I mean. Oh sure, I can explain myself. In millions of different ways. But choosing one set of cohesive words, all spelled correctly, that encompass my whole self? I don’t think so. That’s nearly impossible. The statement of my life is like a mood ring- it’s always changing. One day it’s purple, the next it’s black. Somedays I can’t even tell what color it is, let alone be able to explain it.

Ho-hum. If only I could explain myself in a song. Right now? What song would I pick, you ask?

No, I’m just kidding. This is the right one:

MIA is awesome. Love her funkiness.

And thus you see how my mind wanders.

When in Doubt, EXERCISE.

Since we’ve been on the topic of self-doubt and artistic struggle for the past couple of weeks, I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce you to the crazy (and artistic) world of fitness.

When I feel like crap about myself and the work that I’m creating, I exercise.

In the act of focusing on the movement of my own body, I’m able to let go, at least for the moment, of whatever it is that’s dragging me down into the dumps.

Not surprisingly, it’s often when I’m on a run in the park with my dog or swimming laps at the gym that the most profound artistic ideas dawn on me.

Not only does exercise give your bothersome, negative thoughts a breather, but it also makes you feel good about yourself.

Exercise = Wellbeing = Totally Awesome Art.

Or, in the least, it offers you a chance to come back to whatever it is you’re working on with a fresh point of view, PLUS sport killer abs in the locker room.

***Want to check out some awesome, weird fitness videos? Check out my Manic Fitness blob: I’ve been collecting them! : http://manicfitness.blogspot.com/ ***

LINKS:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-536/Jane-Fonda-Launching-World-Fitness-Day.html (Mind Body Green)

http://factoidz.com/american-womens-fashion-trends-and-times-by-decade-part-3-70s-80s-90s-and-now/ ( American Women’s Fashion Trends and Times by Decade, Part 3 – 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and Now)

http://dpifitness.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/inspirationa-or-fitness-expert/ (Divine Proportion Inc)

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2009/05/seniors_enjoy_fitness_day_at_t.html (Seniors enjoy fitness day at Tanglewood)

http://sexymalebodybuilder.blogspot.com/ (Armon Adibi Top National Competitive Bodybuilder)

The Art of Self Doubt

Every person has their ups and downs. Every artist has her ups and downs too. Yesterday I was up, today I am down. Perhaps tomorrow I will be up again. Nothing is perfect. Every project is always growing and changing. For the past several weeks since I’ve been back in grad school, with this being my last year and my big thesis project looming up in the near future, it’s as if I’ve been on a rollercoaster of new artistic ideas that both excite me and at the same time couldn’t be more terrifying. One day I think I know exactly what I’m going to do, and the next day it’s all up in the air again. I do already have certain elements that I know I want to explore, and am already exploring, but how I want to execute it and the medium(s) that I choose to work with are still in questioning. Yesterday over an amazing pancake breakfast, I wrote nonstop for over two hours what I thought would be the first draft of the film I am (or was) going to make for my thesis. It was invigorating. The words just flowed out of me. They needed to sit on that page. And I felt great about it.. until I went back and read the script in the evening. The second time around, it didn’t seem as exciting as the first. In fact, it seemed so short and simple, not at all what I was really going for….. Today.. well, today I’m torn in between. In a lot of ways there are many elements within what I wrote that excite me. Certainly some new ideas came up from my inspired pancake writings. However, perhaps it is also okay to decide that even though it was inspiring in the moment, and I needed to get those ideas out, I don’t have to stick with the script that I created at all. I can let it go. And go back to the drawing board. And think again. And reassemble. And think again. And doubt again. And then feel inspired and confident again. And perhaps, eventually, string all the ideas that really hit home together and make something out of them. It’s an ongoing process. And it’s not always easy. But that’s a part of art making. Art making is not one continuous inspiration. It can also be hell sometimes. But maybe it’s the struggle that in the end creates the most meaningful work. Because you have to really think about it. You have to doubt in order to believe again.

Photo credit:

http://www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/New%20Harmony.htm