Saturday, December 17, 2011

I am an Artist, but I'm also a beginner.

I saw this the other day and it is as if Ira Glass is in my head.

Really though, I think all artists feel like this at some point. What I want to know is if I will ever get past this awkward stage. Does anyone? How did you? I think there's the obvious. Which he mentions. Make art. Lots of it. Even if it is junk for a while. But I guess the big question is how do you put up with yourself while you are knowlingly making junk? How do you keep yourself from quitting when it's clear that if you don't improve there's no reason to continue?

An aside (that is related, I swear.) I read this article the other day. Hang on let me get you a link...Here it is. It's about photography and the point this guy makes in the article that stood out to me is that all those people who do 365 photo projects start out (I should say many of them start out this way, not all) with the intention of taking pictures of exciting things every day. Eventually they hit a wall and can't keep up with the life that would require. They are forced to take pictures of the ordinary. The ones that rock are the ones who make the ordinary things look stellar.

So my thoughts are that I think in order to get past the crappy part of being a beginning artist you need to hit some wall, and keep going. But the question is how do you stay motivated when you know you haven't made it to the good side of the wall yet?

Another aside. This post isn't actually about my photography. I think I'm a decent photographer. I'd like to improve. And I'd like to be braver with it. The photography reference was purely happenstance. I'd like to be a braver artist all around, but with regards to other artistic endeavors my lack of courage stems from my lack of skill. That's what this post is about.


  1. Love love LOVE this post. I am still fighting my way through the awkward stage. It is good to know that it is a common experience for all who eventually create great art.

  2. I feel like I am constantly fighting through the beginner stage in all the "arts" that I in. I think you have the option of becoming a master in one art or you can always be working towards getting better at all of them. I feel like with sewing, cooking, photography or graphic design the more I know about the skill, the more I realize that I don't know more than the tip of the iceburg about it. But then I have to remember my goal is to improve my skill not reach someone else's idea of perfect. So recently in my artistic projects I have tried to reach my goal of perfection not some vast unattainable goal. Looking for my standard has also help me realize that sometimes I should redo a project if I know that I can redo it better. Which makes for further learning and increased skill.

  3. 10,000 hours - that is what some people think it takes to be really world class good. The Beatles did it playing in bars in GErmany, Taylor Swift did it playing the state fair circuit, Bill Gates did it sneaking out at night while in high school into school and university computer labs. That's about 5 years of concentrated work. Now I'm not sure I have had the staying power for 5 year of lots of painting or whatever. My own artistic goals are to be good enough to satisfy my tastes and my inner critic, but I don't need an audience and I do need to do other things, so I figure that maybe I can still feel like an artist with less than 10,000 hours. I'm kind of hoping for about 1,000 hours maybe 2,000 hours if it matters enough to me - and I expect that it will take a long time to get those hours in.