In the past days I've been tweeting some thoughts about art and being an artist. Some may take theses as advice and they may well be but they are reflective of simply personal artist philosophy based on my own experience.
Preparing my color palette for the week
I very rarely go into tweeter and haven't updated my blog in months, and some of these ideas deserve a little more than 140 characters. So I'll take this opportunity to share and expand some of these thoughts a little further.
1. Somehow when I was a child, time went by slowly. Today time seems to move so fast. I paint so I can go back and slow down time for a while. In a way I like to see painting as some kind of time machine but for the soul. Whenever I paint, there is this connection with childhood memories and play. Some can see painting as a personal therapist. When I think of painting, The first images that come to mind are the smiling face of Bob Ross, the smell of my first crayons, my first pets and my first art encyclopedia.
2. Perhaps the hardest part of being a full time artist is keeping a healthy balance between being true to your art and making a living of art. I think there is this notion that if you paint to sell, you're a sellout and if not then you're an egocentric. I believe there should be a middle way for any artist. Let's be honest, even if we don't agree with our current capitalist system, an artist has to live. There is nothing wrong with making some compromise, but as soon as this starts to feel like a lie, then something is definitely wrong. Stay true to yourself and what you believe in. Some may argue this is pure ego, but the heart has to follow its own bliss, that's the way art is made.
3.In the beginning it's good to learn the rules & follow the book. In time you should break free, bend the rules and write your own story... If you asked me what was the most important thing in art 20 years ago I may have answered differently. At the time I felt I needed a set of rules, structure and a solid foundation. This was mostly denied to me in art school so I had to make it on my own and become my own teacher by teaching others. Time has passed and I still believe it is vital to learn from nature and the masters but I also understand not everyone has to follow the same path and in the end you choose your program and end writing your own book.
4. Being talented, creative and having great ideas are all good but without hard work, dedication and discipline your work won't get very far.. As a full time self-employed artist, I can tell you self-discipline is everything. without it I can't imagine how I would have survived this far without it. Of course that it helps if you have a special talent but with hard work and disciplined habits you can become very good at what you do and also good at time management which is crucial to marketing your art. A creative way of thinking tends to be organic, unpredictable and even inconsistent. One must have a strong charioteer to rein in the horses of creativity.
5. Do not rest til you've mastered your art. If it's too easy, move on. Staying too long in safety zones eventually kills the creative spirit. I should also add that creativity tends to thrive in challenging situations. By pushing your limits you will be much closer to discovering long hidden potential within yourself. Something may seem difficult at first but if you don't give it a try, you'll never know. And what may seem difficult at first, you would be surprised at how easy they really are once you've kept at it. Having determination and coming up with a good strategy plan once you've failed the first few tries is the key for success. The problem with sticking for too long on what you already know is that it becomes stagnant, boring and predictable, qualities you definitely don't want your art to be.
Me in my studio in Houston, Texas
These are just some thoughts I wanted to share but there is one I haven't shared yet and the reason why came up with this blog post to begin with. Weeks before writing this, I've been drafting a few blog entries on more complex issues regarding art history, philosophy and aesthetics. They will eventually be posted. But then I woke up this morning asking myself: Why do I obsess over such complicated matters? Art should be simple and its discussion shouldn't kill it/ Meanwhile a whole world of possibilities lies within me, from which I could benefit and share with the world, just by remembering who I am and learning from my own experiences. So keep it simple, personal and close to home. Because sometimes you don't have to go too far to discover truth in art as in life.