It’s been six months since I made art.
That’s usually death for an artist but I needed that time away. Here’s why:
A few years ago, I made a promise to myself. When I first entered the art world I would walk around a few gallery shows in New York City. I remember looking at the artists who had solo exhibitions, books, and prints being sold everywhere. It was in that moment I told myself “I’m going to have my own solo show.”
Pretty ambitious for someone who just started making art as I had no idea how it would happen. I didn’t have an agent, was rejected by multiple art schools, and at the time I didn’t find my niche. But it didn’t matter. I made that deal with the Universe and said “I’m going to have my own solo show. A solo exhibition with nothing but my work on the walls.”
A few years later, I achieved that promise. I had two solo shows, created an art book of California, successfully sold my artwork in person and online, and had the opportunity to speak with the awesome artists like James Franco, Ilana Panich-Linsman, and the amazing team over at Marie Forleo Inc. I remember at the time thinking to myself “Wow I finally made it. I actually did it!”
Then it happened.
After the features and feedback subsided, after the shows were complete and the prints were sold, I found myself thinking: “Now what?” Then came the follow-up questions:
“So when’s your next show? What are you working on now? How are you going to top your last series?”
I didn’t have an answer. My mind was blank because I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do next. The thought of trying to top my last body of work crippled me. There was no way that I could create something that would top my last show I told myself.
I walked in the studio and kept making work over and over but nothing felt right. The groove was gone and I sat down to figure out why was I in such a funk. Why couldn’t I create anything that I liked?
That’s when I realized I was creating my art for all the wrong reasons.
In the beginning, we create things or do things for a single focus: fame. I was creating work for external gratitude and recognition. I wanted that spotlight on me and I realized how what an ass I felt. I was afraid of failing; of not making great work. I was afraid of trying to make work because my mind already set it to disaster.
And so I told myself that if I was going to create work just for outside validation, then I need to stop and fix this internal battle. So I stopped and I ended up on a spiritual enlightened journey.
Instead I started writing wellness articles to keep my mind busy. I put the camera down and focused on getting my mind, body, and spirit on the same page. And it wasn’t until this month that I finally made the decision to come out of my shell and get back to work.
Now I create for me.
If no one likes it, or even sees my work, I can say that I’m okay with that. If my work ends up in lost pages of time, buried in my studio space, or my fans only consist of close loved ones – then I’m happy. Regardless of the fame or notoriety, this is my calling.
I’m an artist.
It’s good to be back and I hope you like all the new stuff I’ll be making. Also if you love podcasts, then you’ll love the one I just created called Deep Magic which is where I talk about mental health, wellness, and creativity for artistic millennials.
I hope to see you there!