Hello Dear Danglers! I found the blog post below while zooming around the interwebs the other day, and thought I’d share it with you! The author, Michael Roberts, has a great site called Revive Your Creativity dedicated to helping artists get organized and “get the work done” – you can check it out here (because seriously – you need to get the work done).
As a aerialist, I have a full repertoire of performance-ready pieces, but every single one of them has gone “back to the shop for repairs” as my skills grow, my strength improves, or my artistic vision for the act changes. Ever gone back to a piece or watched video and had a giant “oh-sweet-heavens-what-was-I-thinking-face-palm-moment”? Yep – me too. As circus artists, we are in the unique position of working in what I call a “fluid medium”, meaning that many of our creations can be considered both complete (performance ready) and never finished at the same time – how awesome is that?
I really like what Michael says about our art needing an audience, what it means for our piece when we can’t find one (back to the drawing board!), and letting go of the fear of the criticism of our work. Remember: no one ever died because Jane the Circus Critic said their work was le poo and their feet were sickled. Tell Jane to go jump in the lake, take a good long look at your act, and (for the love of God!!!) fix those ugly feet. Have a read – hope you like it! Love and pull-ups, Laura
Seeking Validation as Artists
by Michael Roberts, Revive Your Creativity (used with permission)
How do you decide when you should feel good about your art? How do you decide when something is “good enough”? How do you know when an artistic project is actually done?
These are some of the questions that haunt artists. I’ve heard plenty of stories of artists who could never be happy with the work they produced. If they keep fidgeting with the work, then perhaps they will suddenly achieve some sort of perfection – even though true perfection isn’t even possible.
But why do we give in to this sort of indulgent behavior? Why do we go back for the twenty-fourth revision?
The Excuse of “In Progress”
As long as our work is “in progress”, then there is a plausible excuse for the flaws that are present. As long as the work isn’t completely finished, then we’ve given ourselves a chance to fix it. Just maybe we’ll avoid the harsh criticism of the audience. Even more importantly – maybe we’ll be able to catch the audience’s attention in the first place.
There are difficult truths we have to realize in these vulnerable stages.
We can’t be perfect. No matter how hard we try. No matter how many revisions. We just can’t do it.
We can’t improve by staying in a perpetual state of revision. Art needs an audience. If the art can’t find its audience, then that problem is telling to problems that may need to be fixed. If the art meets with just criticism, then the artist can find ways to improve for the next project.
People will always have issue with what you create. We can’t please everyone in any area of our lives. Why would a deeply personal expression like art be any different?
Accepting and Letting Go
To many artists, the toughest point of creation is letting go, of showing someone else the artwork for the first time. It’s terrifying. We put ourselves into our art, and then we readily release it to a world who may or may not appreciate it.
But, art is communication. Communication is rather inefficient if we keep it to ourselves.
There are artists who create only for themselves, but the work can’t grow. It can’t reach anyone if it isn’t shared.
If we can never overcome the fear of sharing and the fear of rejection, then we can never grow as artists.
Start small. Don’t show someone your biggest project that you’ve been working on for years. Show a quick project to someone and experience the emotions that come with the possibility of rejection. Then, build your way up.
We don’t have to throw ourselves into the worst situations so that we can somehow earn more merit by “suffering as artists”. Protect your heart. You’ll need it for all the beautiful works you’ve yet to create.
To read more cool stuff from Michael, head on over to http://reviveyourcreativity.com/.
As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.