how to care less about your art

Make Better Art By Caring Less? 🎨

Is it possible to make better art by caring less? In my latest video, that's exactly the thesis I posit. As with any craft- playing music, dance, or the visual arts, once you get a firm handle on your rudimentary skills, you can accomplish greater works by not putting too much pressure or importance on any one individual work. If you're thinking beyond being in the moment of what you're doing in the present, you're hindering your ability to reach a flow state.

 

Watch Make Better Art By Caring Less

 

Flow State: In positive psychologyflow, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time.

 

When I was younger, in art school and earlier, I'd often be paralyzed by the potential of things "going wrong" in a piece, which was an impediment to artistic growth. Had I adopted this Stoic-like philosophy of "is this the condition I so feared?" much earlier in my art-life, I'd likely be happier for it. Not to spend too much time on roads less traveled because on some level I wasn't ready to receive this life lesson, but within the last few years, I've become ready and that's ok too, to borrow another bit of immortal wisdom, "When the student is readythe teacher will appear.", and to a large extent that teacher was time and experience.

Let's put the number of works of art you're likely to make over the course of your life-time into perspective- let's say a given artist will average 1.5 pieces of art in a month, that's 18 completed artworks per year. Now let's say you'll have at least 40 productive years of making art- with that number of works and that time-frame, that's 720 finished artworks... and these are all using fairly modest estimates- there are plenty of artists that can and do complete 2-4 works of art in a month. Bearing that in mind, is the piece your working on right now all that significant in the grand scheme of things? If you let go and create without fear, it could be. It could be one of a handful of pieces of art that you're known for, but this becomes far less likely when you create in a state of fear and anxiety about the artwork's outcome. Hold-out for judgement on the outcome until your piece of art's completed.

Making art should be about making the best possible thing you're capable of creating in the stage you're at in your artistic journey at that moment. If you need to make bold changes, a drastic change in drawing, tone, or contrast, make it and go forward boldly, leave open that space for growth. And even if you fall flat on your face in the attempt, chances are, you've learned something that you can carry onto future artistic endeavors.