The Hurricane of Art and Fear

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Picking up from the previous post and wanting to get the blog updated more consistently and on a schedule I took the time between then and now to think about what would be best and I’m going to try to post new blogs on Sundays each week. They may not be very long in the beginning as I try to get in the hang of frequent posting and making it a habit, but there’s also something about myself as an artist… or maybe as a person I want to address in this post that also ties back in to my last post, so here it goes.

For a long time now I feel I have struggled to actually create my art and it used to not be this way at all. When I had an idea I set out to create it as best as I could when I was younger up until a few years after college. I consistently made art, maybe not as often as I should, but a hell of a lot frequent than now. I had actually noticed this a while ago, yet I couldn’t really place my finger on what has been keeping me afraid to produce work.

Of course I do actually make some things… for school or events that come up here and there, but I have a lot of great ideas for stories, merchandise, characters, and art that I just never fully put in to production… and I have hit the wall and have to wonder why?

I bought Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland a few years ago and read all but the last two chapters for whatever reason. I picked it up again because of this continuing slump of mine. I plan on finishing those last chapters first then rereading the whole thing. Even the little I have currently read has illuminated some things for me.

It may be helpful to make this a list but I’m not sure because some of it’s more a jumble of things so let’s see where we get starting at number 1.

  1. LIFE IS HARD (and money helps)
    –The real world takes a lot to survive in and with certain knocks you can quickly be set back and put off course. When I left college I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be to get a job in animation as a traditional artist. Idealism I suppose was my downfall and I just didn’t look at things as practical as I should have… plus I was no where great enough to garner any real attention in an industry that had basically moved on to CG work. So in the end I had to find a job to make money and became a retail slave for 11 years. It was here that I look back and see my work output decline.
    First most of your time becomes devoted to the job, leaving one pretty drained when getting home. This came up in Art and Fear when they were talking about teaching art, but I think it applies for whatever job you do!
    Second is money. It’s always been hard to get things set up as an artist. From the material to producing merchandise if you don’t have money your at a disadvantage. And right now money is at it’s worse for me. Just buying materials is stressful.
  2. STRESS
    –Up until 2012 I had managed to keep a good deal of my moxie and creating even though it was hard to do. In 2012 though I was dealt an extremely rough blow in my personal life that changed the way I saw the world. I suffered though depression and PTSD and just completely drained everything I had. It was all I had just to keep moving though out the day to day. Yet I also managed to create 3 of my most favorite pieces during this time. But the emotional toil was rough and it was hard to keep focused. This is also the time where my job cut hours and money became even more of an issue. Boiling down to having way to many life issues on my mind that focusing on art and creating was not happening.
  3. I JUST DON’T FEEL GOOD ENOUGH
    –I’ve created art for a long time now and have loved doing it, but I’ve had to battle since the beginning to be accepted and I actually still don’t feel like I’m accepted in the art community. I don’t garner attention like other artist. I love seeing the work of the artist I follow on Instagram, it’s very inspiring! But then I feel like I’m not as good as them, that I’m not dedicated enough because I’m not working at my craft everyday. Of course you should create for yourself, but the world is not a vacuum and being recognized for your work *is* rewarding. Some validation can go a long way.
  4. FEAR
    –There in lies the fear. Somewhere along the way I started judging my work and asking myself is it good enough. Not is it good enough for me, but is it good enough to others… to be noticed… to be successful? That right there is the antithesis to creating anything! This fear has caused me to lose myself and my path. To which I am now floating around life not knowing where it or I am heading.

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So there you have it I suppose… these feel like the core reason and they all intermingle with each other like a twisted merry-go-round each feeding the other in some way. I only have vague solutions right now and am going to have to take baby steps to come out of the muck I’ve found myself put in, but I do believe I can be a creator that is successful at actually creating again given time. Next week I will highlight what those ideas are.

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