“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
― Bob Ross
There is so much room for JOY in art, something that I too often mentally push to the side, overpowered by the daily details and challenges of being an artist and owning an art-centered business. But, when I step inside my studio, see something amazing at a museum or gallery, or discover a new artist whose work speaks to me, even if I’m low on motivation or inspiration, joy appears.
Recently I discovered a local artist’s blog. They write about their studio time, commissions they are working on, sketchbooks and inspiration. No monetization links or newsletter subscription pop-ups, no “thought leadership…” just a working artist who likes to make art, write about art and share their art. How much more simple could it be? But how compelling it is! As soon as I see that the artist has posted a link to their blog on Twitter, I click to read it. This person is not an art influencer in any sense of the word (and that’s a compliment) but I so love to live vicariously through them. And they have inspired me toward a different perspective.
Writing and art. Thoughts. Ideas. That’s what it is, for me and for you and for everyone who creates online, really. These are your creative treasures, don’t reduce them to “content.” And it’s important to remember that just because you create something doesn’t mean you have to to attach a performance metric to it.
But like many other creatives making their way in this digital world, I find that those are hard habits to break. For me personally, it’s hard to pursue an interest or new project without immediately thinking “can I monetize that?” “Can I build consulting services around it?” Which is great for the business side of my life, but not so much the creative.
At the end of last year, I thought that 2020 would be a “sabbatical year,” and well, you know, LOL to that. I picked a word for the year in March and then just didn’t do anything else. And, it’s fine, mostly. But there are still a few months left in 2020, the world still spins (for now!) and I can still add something positive to my life.
My husband continues to work from home and the kittens still live with us, so I’ve been doing a lot of hopping from room to room with my laptop, phone and reading glasses throughout the workday. One goal I have in the spirit of art bringing joy, is to spend more time in my studio not only as a place to make art, but also just as a place to be; to work and write and enjoy life. It’s small and messy, but it has big windows and a comfy couch, and I should be in here more often, if only because being here makes me happy.
The kittens are too little to be invited in, but my little house panther wants it so badly! He bangs on the door and one by one, pulls down the stack of books I’ve placed in front of it to avoid seeing his paws and face in the crack and feeling guilty. It is like being in the panic room of a horror movie when the goblin is bashing its way in. I do see his paws and I do feel guilty! But too bad, Beans! I’m claiming my space and tuning you out, or putting you in the cat room for a few hours. Your sister, too, because you both cry when we separate you. Sometimes it’s okay to redirect distractions, not to be more productive, but just to be happier.
I just love art, and it started to feel silly and disconnected for me to approach my personal art, experiences and thoughts as only things to build a business around or market my work through. How about building a joyful, creative life, which is really what we artists and art lovers long to do? Regardless of the subject matter (not all art is joyful, of course) we love our happy little art accidents, the game-changing breakthroughs and successes, the inspirational discoveries we happen upon and the communities that we work in. Why undermine those joys just because we also want to support ourselves?
Going back to my new favorite art blog; the artist recently named their studio, and I’m inspired to do the same. It’s a fun thought exercise, and really helps add to the sense of place. I haven’t decided on a name yet. In my very early days, I was MollyPop Studios (RIP). I’m not sure that fits anymore.
For the next little while, as I create and read and think, I think it will be fun to consider, not necessarily in regards to a business name attached to the art itself, but as the physical place where I work from. A word or phrase that resonates with me as an artist. A place that feels like home.