The more I created art, the more I began to notice that some of my very worst traits---lack of patience, periodic lack of persistence, lack of any sustained passion (typically, passion, for me, would devolve into boredom in no time flat)---were no longer set in stone, but were beginning to loosen, soften at the edges to the point where they were not so pronounced. I could actually see myself working on myself without any conscious effort---just by creating art.
And when I thought about it, patience, persistence and passion are essential elements in maintaining a successful art career. I'd venture to say that without them, your art would not be as great as it could possibly be nor would it be as satisfying.
Patience. I was born and raised in New Jersey. I spent the first 46 years of my life there. I could be sorely tempted to attribute my lack of patience to that fact (have you ever driven on the Jersey Turnpike? Have you ever experienced the overcrowding, hectic 24 hour go- go- go pace of a Jersey life?) Wherever it came from--- genetics or environment or both---patience isn't my strong suit. Then I started creating splatter paintings (a la Jackson Pollock). I use every color on my palette and forcefully throw them, one at a time, at a surface. I have to wait for each paint color to dry before I apply the next. If my impatience were to dominate the process---if I do not wait for each color to dry sufficiently---the art becomes a muddy mess, with colors all bleeding together. Splatter painting has helped me address my impatience. Also, it has helped me cope with another failing of mine...always wanting a sense of control. With splatter painting there is not much control. You throw and hope for a good pattern to emerge. And, boy, that abandonment of control is pretty liberating. Letting the art flesh out as it will.
Persistence. Every once in awhile, I create a 3D sculpture and when I'm near completion, it falls apart (like the above graphic). The glue didn't take. The rivet wasn't positioned properly. The engineering was inadequate to begin with. For whatever reason, it fell apart. At that point---after a few choice Jersey expletives---I am tempted to scrap the whole artwork. Toss it angrily into the garbage. Done! But I never do. I take a deep breath, step back and realize that from every artwork disaster, there is an invaluable lesson. A way to correct what was not correct from the start. And that lesson I will carry with me into the future, so that future artworks will benefit from the earlier mistakes. Lessons learned will make future art creation easier and better. And another positive: it's far more preferable that the piece fall apart before it is publicly introduced or when a client has already purchased it and taken it home.
Passion. I am easily bored. I can never just sit without doing another activity. If I were to simply watch TV, I would go insane. It's so bad that when I'm waiting in a really long fast food drive-thru line, I work on a crossword puzzle. I know. I need to work on that. Boredom is the flip side of passion. Sure, passion always comes easiest at the beginning of a venture. The novelty, the newness of it. The thrill of the unknown, the untried, is exhilarating. But eventually, the novelty, the newness becomes familiar and mundane. Repetitive. The thrill is gone. But with art, I am never bored. If I become bored with working on a series of works, I can just switch to another genre. Switch from 3D to 2D....whatever. And with art, there's always something new to learn, something new to try. How could I ever be bored? I have art passion every single day.
So, I'll admit it. I know, I'm a mess. I'm only human. Like art, I'm a work in progress. But what magic, what serendipity have I discovered in the simple---or not so simple--- act of creating art. It can be more than a creative pursuit. It can actually transform you in some pretty amazing, unimaginable and positive ways. See it for yourself!