Saturday, February 12, 2011

Art and Fear

I know I occaisionally use this as a venue to be whiny and this is one of those times. So, warning, you may want to leave now. Maybe go to my other blog and read my latest post about that crazy Duggar family.

I keep going through fits of post grad depression and today is one of those fits. I was looking through my bookshelf and realized I still have a copy of Art and Fear and I think it's time I read it again. I haven't read this since I was probably in my third year of undergrad so I'm sure this will mean completely new things for me now.
It's hard hard hard to not be in school and still make art. No, I take that back, making the art isn't hard. It's the feeling alone in it part. I sit alone in my studio and draw and collage and push paint around on paper but my self esteem over what I'm doing gets lower and lower. I can never decide if what I'm making is enough. Is it good enough? Smart enough? Pretty enough? Ugly enough? Where does it fit in? Where do I fit in?

I have definitely gotten better when it comes to these depressing moments. I am being more active about turning that depression into art-making energy. I think reading Art and Fear may just help, too.

Anyone else relate to these feelings? If you're still reading thanks for letting me whine for a bit. Now I'm going to go work in the studio.

11 comments:

Rachael, Pistachio Press said...

I think I had a period of a year where I was depressed after grad school, watching too much tv and having a hard time making art. I didn't realize what was going on at the time but I think part of it was decompressing after the intensity of school for so many years. I read art and fear then, too! Now I have an opposite fear that even though I work so hard making a living by printing (letterpress) I worry that I'm a sell-out. So many years of academic BS about being a "real" artist and I feel bad for making pretty things that make money. Shouldn't I be showing in galleries and paying to get my work in juried shows? Ha! Such a cycle.

CassieMarie said...

"ditto"

I've been a bum these last few months as well, I never finish anything. I keep getting distracted with other things (or maybe I am letting myself be distracted). Either way, this winter has been especially hard. I feel like I should be in the studio getting tons of work done!

A Beautiful Party said...

Rachael, thank you so much for sharing that. It actually gave me a lot of hopeful feelings because I certainly admire what you are doing and knowing that you experienced the same feelings I did/do after school lets me know that there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

And Cassie, oh how I wish we could be going through this together in the same town. maybe it would help light a fire even more...

thanks, ladies!

Art Nun said...

I have felt this way often over these post 7 years since undergrad. Summers help because I now make it a point to either take a class or a workshop and get contact with other artists, many who feel the exact same way. Work through it. Bite the bullet and just keep working. Its hard, and you will make several "bad" pieces. Keep them as a learned lesson to reflect on later. I try to get into as many shows as I can too. Evansville is my metals market and Bowling Green is my watercolor market. Networking helps.

Erin said...

I completely understand; I was out of school for three years between undergrad and grad school. The thing that kept me motivated was continuing to take workshops, because I, (like you it seems) need to be around others who are making work in order to maintain my motivation. It is so difficult to feel alone in your artmaking, because after a time you feel as though it doesn't matter what you make since you aren't sharing it with anyone.

In the time between undergrad and grad I took 3 bookbinding workshops (at the American Academy of Bookbinding), one sculptural papermaking workshop (at Penland), and I received three different internships, each to maintain my hand skills.

Continuing to find yourself in a somewhat academic setting, even out of school, is the best advice I can give anyone. It is the only thing that has helped to maintain my happiness and creativity.

Rachael, Pistachio Press said...

Ann, it's always nice to not feel alone. You've gotten some good comments :) My other piece of advice is to find a studio space to share with friends or other artists. Even something small or a monthly crit. I got a space with friends five years ago and it's been amazing, even the months we just use it as storage when life gets in the way of making!

hannah said...

Keep on Truckin'! Hopefully we can be inspired together at Frogman's this summer. You'll have to teach me all you learn about staying inspired post-graduation. I'll check out that book, for sure.

Deliberate Creator said...

Art and Fear is a good book to look at now and again. I read in undergrad, in time off after undergrad and during grad school. I think it is important to just continue to endure, and find the things that allow you to do that the best that you can. I always experience a post-partum experience: after undergrad, after grad school, after every big show, after a life change, someone leaves, every time my supportive art community shifts, etc...
Remember that you get to set the bar for yourself. You decide when you are making enough and getting your work out there enough. And sometimes down times amount to being incubation periods. hang in there because you are not alone.

Adrienne said...

Ann, this is exactly what I was talking about the other night. That frustration of deciding whether to make things that are "good" enough for a gallery or if you should just keep it in the Etsy shop and see if it sells? Not feeling like what you are currently making is on par with what you made a while ago...

ugh. it all stinks. and its hard and depressing, but we are all going through that together. we should talk more and be more supportive for each other. the worst part is when your most inspiring work-mates are miles away from you.

i miss you, friend. can't wait to see you soon and give you a big hug.

Amelia said...

Hi again,

Oh I soooo know what you mean. My previous studio space was a room on my own and there wasn't even a communal area to meet and chat and I didn't like it. The studio I'm in now is a shared space and there is something about the community. But like everything there are peaks and troughs!

I think if we know what our passion is or ideas we want to share with the world it's easier to stay convicted about making art. But being an artist isn't an easy path. But you are not alone and keep making :) I have a lovely piece of your work and I love it!

Maybe I will be taking my own advice after I graduate from my art MA!!!!

Amelia.x

TJ said...

Sorry to read that things are hard at the moment. But it sounds like you're doing your best to turn it around and use art as a tool -- keep going!! Best wishes from germany, tj