go ahead and wait
Happy My Way
From the Conversations With Artists series:
Sylvia Is Sylvia
Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to. They way we were sure they would, especially after countless hours of work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pushed on banging my head against the wall trying to make something work. Just because I didn’t wan’t to admit I had failed. When Sylvia wrote me that she didn’t have a problem with putting unfinished work aside, I wanted to know more:
“I have learned not to be over critical of my work. I never feel like a failure if a piece of mine does not end up looking like I think it should. Two years ago I dabbled in mixed media pieces using paper clay. It was fun but then I realized that it was not me and I returned to making assemblage art. I donated most of those pieces… Other work I’ve outright destroyed. There were times when I thought that some work of mine turned out badly. A friend of mine thought otherwise, prompted me to sell it, which surprisingly it did. That taught me not to look at my work with such a critical eye. I have a few pieces sitting around the studio that need to be reworked. I will just trust my intuition when I am ready to tackle them.”
Sylvia can wait. She’s a Twinki-Winki warrior.
What often feels like failure is just growth. What feels broken is just evolving. There is a creative process that takes its own sweet time with or without us. We cannot avoid the parts we dread. We cannot skip ahead. We can, however, let things play themselves out. Because sometimes waiting is actually moving ahead.
(I’m interviewing artists to get their take on process and play. In part, because I’m wanting to know if they’re as neurotic as I am, but mostly because I want to write about how art-making can teach us about life-making. Because just as there is no right or wrong way for us to make our art, there is no right or wrong way for us to be happy.)