Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Biggest Problem Artists Face
It is quite a feat to knock your head against the wall of your studio day after day, wondering what will emerge (besides a flat head). But the focus has to be on the knocking, not on what emerges.
Artists use lots of excuses to stay away from their studio. Sometimes I remind myself that Sartre, the existential philosopher, wrote his best stuff after working 70+ hours a week as a journalist. There are stories and stories about artists with little time who had a steady art practice.
The secret is to go tomorrow to the studio, and not to worry about the results. Chance says that good things will come from time to time. Faith can help one believe that, if you must have good things. But imagine if you just made less bad things. Or maybe dispense entirely of good and bad and just think about Blake's "practice is art." Isn't that enough? Harry Callahan, the legendary photographer, had a dry spell for ten years late in life. Every morning he'd go out and take pictures. Then he'd come back and develop his film, eat lunch, and then print. Nothing worked. But after ten years of this, good stuff started to happen.
In the end we'll all have plenty of time to sleep. Until then, wake up and see what comes out as you beat your head against the wall.