The past few days have been intense. I’ve been very sullen and stressed having to deal with a bunch of situations, many of which are out of my control. But yesterday was different. Yesterday was “jump-out-of-my-skin” fun. Not that I did anything out of the ordinary but my mind was in the game (or maybe the exact opposite.) No matter the specifics, I got those creative juices flowing and was quite pleased with the outcome.
One of the highlights of last night was a little conversation I had with my boyfriend’s roommate. He was amazed that I was working on a piece surrounded by all the commotion.
Now, don’t ask me how it originated (because I forgot) but the conversation soon turned to intentions. As a veteran artist (he is about 20 years my senior) my boyfriend’s roommate is someone I regard. His art/graphic design knowledge is superb and his portrait art is on-point. So I wanted to get his opinion on the importance of intentions. I’ve been reading many blogs/instagrams that make great emphasis on having intention (very vague, I know) when making art. As someone who never really plans her art and simply allows the brush to wander and create organically, I was worried. Had I gotten something wrong? Did my lack of intention mean I wasn’t doing this whole arting thing right?
That’s when he said the very words that I’ve been reminding myself since forever. But when he said them, it was like I was hearing them for the first time and it just felt so. damn. good.
Your art is everything and anything you think it is. In comparison, it’s like creating a baby. It is the most personal thing you own, more personal than your relationship with your parents or your lover. This is something only you are responsible for and unlike raising a child, which obviously has it’s do’s and don’ts, no one can say your art is wrong. (not a direct quote)
The way he said it, all nonchalant and obvious, made me realize that everyone has a default way of creating art; and that way is intrinsically unique to you. And even if it feels like your unique method doesn’t quite fit with your own (false) schema of how a “real” artist does it, it’s still valid.
Intention can be important. I don’t mean to devalue anyone who is intentional about their art. That isn’t where I’m going with this. As an emerging artist, I pay very close attention to other artists’ methods because I value their work and hope to learn as much as possible from this great collective unconscious that is the art world. Yet I always kept coming back to that one word and wondering, how the heck do I make my work intentional? I mean, I intend to paint, does that count? The answer is yes. All’s fair in love and war...and art. Artists aren’t bound by any set of rules. So be intentional...or not. I find joy in letting my brushes do the work. I want to worry less about what should be on the paper and enjoy more of the movement: the swirls and pivots.
That’s when I realized that the reason I was able to sit there, in the midst of the boisterous conversations and rock and roll, but exclusively concentrate on my brush had everything to do with my intrinsic ability to make art.
As newbies, we sometimes feel like not doing something the way everyone else seems to be doing it means we’re doing something wrong but that’s rarely the case.