In my previous installment, Dear Reader, we learned that Karin is realizing that receiving a Master-y degree in Art or making Art into a career or yoking it to money-making isn't necessary to be defined as successful, or even necessary to be defined as an Artist, and definitely not necessary in living a creative life. In fact, success as an Artist living a Creative Life could be simply (or rather Magically) be defined as open to receiving Ideas, and then making Art Objects.
This makes me (I'm Karin, btw) SO HAPPY I can't even tell you. Well actually I'm going to try to tell you. Like, right now.
Because I already do that AND I am super duper good at it. I get Ideas ALL THE TIME, about quite the assortment of subjects.
I like assortments. One of my favorite meals in our household is the "snack plate". It became a meal with a title when my daughter was small: a bunch of small foods that included veggies and dips and meats and fruits and crackers and cheese. It was easier than trying to force complicated adult type meals. And as I mentioned, I kinda like to eat that way too. I like variety! I love restaurants with shareable plates or small plates, because I want to try all the things! Smorgasbords or salad bars or a meal of only appetizers? YES PLEASE!
This passion for variety encompasses more than just food preferences. I've rarely stayed in a job for longer than 2 years. For a while it was hard to stay in a home for longer than a couple of years as well. We've lived in one house now for almost 10 years, but I ALWAYS have tabs open on my computer with real estate listings. And I adore our house! I always want to learn or experience something new: that's also one of the reasons why if I don't travel at least once a year I start to get itchy.
So as you probably can guess, I also get quite a few art ideas. Inspiration is not one of my challenges. However, trying to force my buffet-type personality into the current mastery mono-meal lifestyle that is encouraged by Western Culture IS a big challenge. My question to you: what's wrong with having multiple interests, and pursuing what you are curious about? As long as you make sure you provide for yourself the basic survival needs of shelter/clothing/food/sleep/healthcare, why do you need to Master One Thing? Answer: you don't. My friend Sara Saltee, when I shared with her that I felt ashamed of all the jumping around of things I have done, she re-framed it as my "portfolio of projects". How GREAT is that? Life already is a portfolio of experiences, and we wouldn't want that to be any different. The thing is, that's where my creativity thrives.
But, when you have as many Ideas as I do, another challenge is doing all of them. That is not necessarily a bad thing: if you subscribe to author Elizabeth Gilbert's theory that Ideas are conscious beings that look for humans to bring them into the physical world, and that if you decide not to sign a contract with them, they have no probs heading to a new human: then no worries! The idea will find a way, with or without you. Back to the BUT part... I will admit that sometimes I have an issue following through to the end with at least ONE idea, before jumping to the next one. That does, in fact, make my Muse a bit grumpy.
Side note: This probably sounds a bit familiar to folks who trend ADD/ADHD... and yes, though not formally diagnosed, I'm starting to think that I might be wired that way. Before the explosion of information about neural diversity, some other ways to describe this type of brain or personality would perhaps be at best multi modal, or right brained, or at worst "lazy" or "flaky".
Anyway, the point of all this is that I'm ready to embrace my snack plate life rather than trying to force myself to conform to one track since that's not my strength; with the caveat to work harder at finishing more things that I start before jumping the next bright shiny. How that impacts my art life is to continue as I have been: listening for Ideas, making art objects, and sharing them with you. So it won't look too different, except I am re-framing it in my own head as a Creative Art Journey rather than an Art Career (which requires "marketing" and "a signature style" and "representation" blah blah blah); and the art objects or projects I make are souvenirs on the way: some of which will end up as grist, some I'll keep, some I'll give away, and some I'll exchange for dollars.
I can't tell you what a relief it is not to keep trying to decide what box my art fits into, and that I can give the whole trying-to-sell-you-something a break. I hope you'll keep following along, checking out what snack variety I have on display!