Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Motivates Me

I'm catching up on my blog reading.  I stumbled upon this interesting blog over at Kirsty Hall that really struck me as interesting.  It asks the question, "What motivates you?"

I've been thinking about that a lot lately, as I've been trying to read a book called The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.  It's a good book, and I can't recommend it enough--really enlightening and heartfelt.  It addresses the mental blocks that we all experience as artists, the fears that we cycle through and the excuses we make to not be disciplined and simply do the work we need to.  I'm not finished with it yet, so I'll save my "review" for another time, but it's good so far.

There are also lot of blogs that address the idea of "shipping", as postulated by Seth Godin.  It's no secret he draws a lot on Pressfield's idea of "resistence".  He addresses it directly in this blog, here.  A lot of other artists and bloggers have taken their cue from Godin and Pressfield, and written a lot about staying motivated as well.  I don't know if I'm particularly sensitive to it right now or what, but I see these ideas floating around in my life a lot lately.

So the blog by Kirsty really struck me.  It was a challenge, in a way, to finally elucidate what indeed motivates me to do any of this--my business, my wearable art, my blogging--all of it!

For artists, a lot of this information is inspiration for artist statements.  Maybe I'll end up deriving some of it for my "Relished Fairy Tale" exhibit coming sometime.

So what motivates me?  Several things:

1) The fashion industry.  I don't get it.  I don't know if I ever will.  I've never worked in it.  My exposure to it is completely from the outside.  And yet, I'm strongly motivated to avoid it at all costs.  I'm not sure why I have such an aversion to the concept of mass-manufactured clothing and distributing, but I do. Somehow, it seems somewhat hollow to me, and I can't put my finger on why.  It lacks an authenticity...  I know that what I'm trying to create is a kind of "anti-fashion", with individual pieces unique to one wearer.  I'm not sure where it comes from, but perhaps my background in Theatre and designing for individual characters has something to do with it...  Surely there are people out there that enjoy and appreciate handmade items as artistic expressions?  As a desirable aspect?

2)  Academia.  I worked for a long time in an institution of higher education, and I felt rather quashed in the end.  I think I have to prove to myself that I am not just a teacher, but an expressive person that has something to say outside of the classroom.  I enjoyed my time there, but I let it define me for too long.  Now I need to make a new definition of who and what I am.  I have worked almost all of my employed life in academia.  I need to prove I can do something else.  For myself.

3)  Theatre.  I love theatre.  Really I do.  It's in my bones.  But frankly, I rarely had the kind of collaborative working relationship as a designer that I was teaching about in the classroom and that everyone else seemed to be having.  That was frustrating.  I started to feel hypocritical.  And the skills that I had worked for years to develop surely had to be useful in a different way for something else.  I need to be successful on my own, outside of the theatre realm.  And artwear, wearable art, and designer attire seems to be the answer right now.

4) Art.  I am an incredibly opinionated person.  And I don't like to mince words.  I can blather on for hours about how things "should be", or "what's wrong", or "injustices of the world".  But in the end, I realized individual issues weren't as important as the overall necessity for art in general.  I can't go overseas and promote truth and justice and democracy.  But I can make sure there's a culture worth celebrating here at home.  It's a responsibility on my part to ensure we're a society worth continuing.  And Art is the meat of all cultures worth celebrating and all societies worth continuing.  I believe that very very strongly.  So making beautiful things for people who enjoy them seems a logical choice.

So that's what motivates me.  And I was prompted by these motivations to create Relished Artistry, LLC.  What I do with it remains to be seen.  But it's off to a good start.  : )

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!

Image by Randy Son of Robert via Flickr.  Creative Commons License.

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