When I look back to find the moments and emotional states that brought me closer to what I had always dreamt for myself, I identify my internal frustration and discontent of not being where I thought I should be in my life and career as the motivator.
Because I had always wanted a career doing the thing which I loved, which was art, I spent a lot of time getting to know that world from a very young age. I ventured off to local galleries [the few that there were] and immersed myself in that world from pure enjoyment and love of what looked to me like freedom and dreams come true. The idea of making art as my life’s focus was so exciting that it dominated my thoughts day by day.
I began entering high level shows in high school and while there was rejection I had also experienced acceptance and that experience reinforced my dreams of a life making art. I never actually struggled with ‘am I good enough?’ I always was aware that the artists I had idolized such as Sol Lewitt, Robert Ryman, Christo, Josef Albers and others in that generation had found a way to make art their life and so would I. In the early years I would make my wife go to galleries with me, which I admired, with her knowing that I would leave being completely frustrated and sometimes angry that I wasn’t being seen in those places. Needless to say she didn’t like going to galleries much and I can’t blame her.
I would go back to my day to day studio life in complete discontent and wonder what I didn’t know that everyone else did who were in those galleries. What was I missing? Is there some secret to being seen in the places I wanted to be seen? I have the distinct memory of one particular day having a light bulb go off inside. I said, ‘here you are working in relative obscurity and within a narrow geographical area and what do you expect? Out of sight out of mind.’ My discontent and frustration exceeded my intimidation of approaching places I lusted after and as uncomfortable as I was I starting letting people know I existed.
I wrote the book ‘Studio to Wall’ to elaborate the discoveries and experiences that came out of this to produce a blueprint that can be adapted to each individual’s circumstance and personality. I have always believed that if one person can do something then so can others and why not me? My experience is not based on romance or unrealistic expectations but the actual ‘how to’ of it all that most artists will eventually discover. It is history for me and what this blog is all about. Sharing what I learned and experienced as contributing back to a world that has both loved and hated me.
So in the depth of what feels negative for us all, such as frustration and discontent or self- doubt there is an opportunity that far exceeds what we can imagine if we deflect these motivators outward instead of inward. We each need to experience successes in art. Not just the making of it but the sharing of it on any level. I have seen universally that when our work connects with someone there is a feeling of it is worth it all and we want to do it again and again. This sharing is excellence,communication and insight at its very best, the essence of all expression.