"If your art doesn't give you trouble, it won't be good."---Picasso
I had the foolish notion that once I had decided to be a full time professional artist that all the stars would align, the heavens would shine down upon me & all my creative endeavors would go smoothly. If it was meant to be, my art would be effortless. It would just flow from me like magic. How utterly naive. For me, nothing could be further from the truth.
I wrestle, I struggle, I grapple---with nearly every work I create.
Part of this struggle stems from the fact that my art is crafted from trash. It is wholly dependent upon the components I salvage. If I don't obtain suitable parts, I cannot create. This in itself creates a huge uncertainty in the creative process. The second factor that engenders much tension is the fact that I don't sketch a design prior to construction. When I first started out, I tried to, but every time, the design could not be executed due to engineering or aesthetic flaws. Now, I design as I construct. I never know how a work will turn out until its completion.
And with all this uncertainty, there would be moments in the creative process bordering on panic. What if I can't pull this off? What if it is near perfection until I add the last component & ruin the whole thing? What if? What if?
And then, I had an epiphany. What if all this anxiety, this unease, this tension is, after all, the very fuel for my creative process. What if the solving of a really difficult puzzle is a normal part of the creative process? What if tension is the energy required to create. I doubt this is true for all artists, but this is how I roll. (my art is not like oil painting that you can attend a class to learn proficiency. I learn as I go along, not from a class or book---which heightens the insecurity & anxiety). And when I decided to go with the flow, not fight the tension and the unsettling feeling—when faced with unpredictability—I became more confident and worked far more productively.
It requires a huge trust in yourself as an artist, trust in the process. Trust that your art will turn out fine as long as you don't give into the anxiety. Don't allow the unease to mar your creative energy. Have faith that the journey will take you where you need to go. And if you experience failures-- work looked far better in your mind than in reality-- it's not the end of the world. Failures are nothing more than lessons learned. Failure is a wonderful part of the creative process. How else would you learn & grow as an artist, if you never failed?
Not all your works will be masterpieces and that's OK. We're only human, not art machines.