Tony Clennell wrote a nice little blog post that started with his condolences to me for the loss of my dad. He continued the essay with examples of a mentee and a teacher friend who both have experienced some recent obstacles to their creative practice, and he encouraged us all to stay true to our voices, to not flag just because the world is somehow now standing in our way. Its good advice, and a nice companion piece to the essay I wrote about finding motivation during the times we don’t feel like making.
In his comments in the share on facebook Tony wondered if he had to be stupid more than daring to stand up and take the beatings he’s received as a potter. “Is it daring or just my stupidity? Sometimes I’m not sure of my footing but I plod on.” My response was:
I think stubbornness, Tony. Daring is overrated. The important thing is not the risk but the determination to follow through. And I’d never say ‘stupid’, but I don’t think its strange to walk through mine fields to do what you need to do. Ignoring things others turn their lives upside down over is sometimes what it takes to be a creative soul. On the flip side, we also tend to move mountains for things that others can’t even see. As I say, daring and stupid generally have nothing to do with it. Its more like we come from a different planet and just don’t fit the reality others walk in. Or so it often seems to me :)
Creative folks like us are sometimes strangers to the world we are born into. We don’t get what others find so important, and mostly others don’t really get what we are trying to say, the things we want to talk about, the things we find important. If that’s a problem we maybe need to get a ‘real’ job and spend our time chasing the marketplace, chasing the trends, chasing what society wants us to be, rather than camped out in our studios obsessed with discovering fascinating things about shape and color, process and technique, surface and design, that only our own imagination and unique experience of the world can give us access to. We step into our studios, and at the same time we step away from ‘normal’ society. You can’t spend that much time wrapped up in your own imagination and not create some distance to a world for which most parents will tell their kids to not grow up to be an artist…..
Daring would be dropping a normal life for a creative one. Stupid would be not listening to the voice that is inside you. Once you have acknowledged that you have something unique to say, and that expressing this is part of your reason for being here, you have accepted that you may come from a different place than most folks. You have accepted that you may be a potter from another planet….
Make beauty real!