While busy at work last week, my mind was quickly filling with designs for jewelry, images of future apartment dwelling, home decor and art experiments. As I allowed my mind to wander, I drifted into a deeper, philosophical realm.
I sometimes struggle with how much time I spend thinking about things versus how much time I actually spend executing them. I often sit here at my desk, dreaming and designing in my head, pushing bits of metal and stone around, or re-arranging a spread of photos. Many days I never actually “accomplish” or “complete” any thing. My struggle has always been feeling that I should be completing something, that I should have something to show for the time I have invested quietly in my mind or at my desk.
I had a revelation while at work though… not only do I not need to complete something or have something to show for my long stretches of quite thoughts, but also, maybe that’s part of being an artist.
“What does it mean to be artist?” is, in my opinion, a very obnoxious question. One I often heard in high school art classes, again in art school (college) and in every movie or TV caricature of an artsy type. I honestly never cared to ponder the question too deeply. I mostly trusted that a person would just know they were an artist and they should trust in that. But as I went through a 4 year art program and then moved into the “real” world, it very much felt like you are an artist only if you make things. For me, this mainly took the form of sellable products.
Over the last few years as I grow into an adult woman, self-doubt and self-consciousness have become more common elements in my life and creative process. I have ended up really torturing myself at my studio desk, not making things, wondering if I am creating for myself or some unknown audience.
My revelation is that you don’t have to make things or produce products to be an artist. That can be part of it , for sure. But being an artist for me, is a way of life – it’s a way of seeing things and a way of processing the world around me and my experiences.
It’s felt really liberating to arrive at this idea. I feel so much more free and more accepting of myself and the way I work. What are your thoughts on being an artist? Does any of this resonate with you?