Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Tuesday lunchtime

Okay, I promised to write something about sad excuses we all make not to get on with creative stuff. I'm not sure that this doesn't constitute a little wallow in negativity, but here goes anyway:

Horrow Stories I Have Heard
& Bad Reasons To Make No Art

1) "I'm an artist because I think like one, I don't need to be making art to be an artist."
Er, huh? Sorry, but I think that is just plain wrong. If you think like an artist but don't make anything that could remotely be called art (and, let's face it, "anyhting that could remotely be called art " gives you a pretty large field of play, to begin with!), then you are a creative person who is stymied, blocked, suffering from depression, or downright lazy. PLEASE! - if you are stymied, blocked or clinically depressed, get help, grieve, struggle, but do something about it! If you are lazy - well, what can I say? Get off your btm and find a creative outlet of some kind, and stop making really daffy excuses for yourself.

2) "I'm not going to show with those amateurs/in that pathetic little space/unless it's in Hoxton or the West End; I'm worth more than that."
Don't be a snob. Yes, of course you are worth tons and tons, you are unique and only you can make your art, have your thoughts, etc. BUT - to the art-viewing public you are just one of tens of thousands of other artists they haven't heard of. Get yourself heard-of. Get your stuff seen. "Those amateurs" have got their work in a show - have you? That "pathetic little space", however small and cramped, is on public view, which your bedroom wall, your loft, or your parents' garage, are not.

3) "I'm a creative person! I can't be expected to organise setting up shows and running mailing lists and so forth; someone else must do all the organising for me so I can concentrate on creating."
And the person who said this to me is going to have a tough time of it in adult life in general, not just in their putative career as an artist. No-one gets to do just the things they enjoy, and hand all the boring, complicated and messy stuff to someone else, except the filthy, filthy rich. That's life. Do you want to wind up co-dependent on a control freak? Then get your act together!

4) "I've been treated so badly, I can't get over it; my college didn't appreciate me, my tutors didn't give me the grade I deserved! I'll never get over it, never!"
My tutors also didn't give me the grades I deserved. Nor did heaps of other folks' tutors. School sucks (excuse me, sudden americanism there). Lots of other peole won't appreciate you, or your work. Or me and my work. Again, that's life. And, yes, it still hurts, and yes, it was miserable. Those big rejections, when all your hopes were pinned on something, are utterly flattening at the time. But the only person who suffers from you brooding on it endlessly is you. Those mean old tutors of ten years ago don't give a toss; they've probably forgotten your name, at least nine and a half years ago.

I'm going to have to stop this, I'm just getting nasty, remembering rows I have had with people I was at college with who came out with stuff like this. I saw so many people with real talent come out of art school and trail off into doing dismal underpaid jobs and whinging in the pub about all the "reasons" why they were absolutley helpless in the grip of a nightmare situation where they couldn't do anything at all creative. I would try to buck them up, be positive, then try a little gentle nagging, then make suggestions and point out opportunities and bright ideas I had come across that would suit their ouevre brilliantly, and generally make a thorough pollyanna-ish nuisance of myself. One lass in particular I remember would just get more and more downcast, the more I pointed out to her all the avenues open to her, and finally would start telling me I just didn't understand and I was simply trying to put her down and make myself look as if I had all the answers. I gave up in the end and decided that actually I was wasting both her and my time, and being both masochistic and a self-righteous bitch, preaching at her like this, trying to help someone with no real desire to stand on her own feet.
I am preachy, and self-righteous, and I do think I have all the answers! - it's my nature! I was brought up that way! So it's my parents' fault! Wah, wah, wah... Sorry, meltdown complete. Tomorrow I promise to post something positive and not whingey at all. Good for you if you ploughed through all this. Please come back another day and see how cheerful I can be!...

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