January 27, 2011
Towards the end of last year, I began doing some brainstorming on what I could assign myself for personal art projects this year. One thing I want to do is round out my portfolio a little more, but I was having trouble narrowing down how I was to do that.
I found that, even though I had a goal to do more art and fill my portfolio, my goal was failing. Instead of wanting to do more art, I discovered I wasn't doing anything at all -hence the lack of posts for several weeks.
I learned that my struggles didn't stem from having a clear direction on where I wanted to take my career, but rather, grew out of the fear of either loosing employment or missing out on a well-paying future career in art. If you can believe, I've had four different art careers in the last ten years and spent almost a year looking for work during the last recession. My first two jobs were with large and seemingly secure companies. One laid off about 3/4 of their employees due to financial problems. The second job found me working for a boss who, when the economy took a nose dive, tried to keep the studio afloat by stealing money from his employees.
Several years ago, I learned of two different motivations which influence how I live my life. One is a way to move through life towards the things I want to obtain, or achieve. Another way is to move through life away from the things I want to avoid, or fear. An author compared this to trying to drive while only looking through the rear-view mirror, or going shopping in a store with a list of all the things I don't want. As you can imagine, this way of thinking can contribute to a very frustrating, directionless life.
Just as the Cheshire Cat told Alice, in Alice in Wonderland, that it didn't matter which path she took if she didn't know where she wanted to go, I found my desire to produce art overwhelmed by the attitude of 'wanting to cover all my bases' instead of aligning my ambitions along a specific path. The art world is very broad, and I found myself exhausted even just thinking about how I was going to achieve my goal.
Thankfully, recognizing how I was thinking, and with inspiration from some of my favorite artists, I've been able to bounce back, and restructure my goals with a more specific 'toward-motivated' direction in mind.