‘Tis the season for introspection, I just feel the need to put ‘my 2 cents’ in to the myriads of blog posts by artists I have read of late around “goal” setting for their work in the coming year. Having been a ‘midwife’ to the creative process of thousands during the last 16 years, from adults to kindergartners, I am more than ready for Oprah when she interviews me and asks (there’s my fantasy life!)..”what do you know for sure?”
I would tell Lady O this….what I know for sure is that when it comes to making art, it is crucial NOT to be goal oriented…the purest, most genuine expression of who you are, what you have to say and offer the world, will come straight from your heart and mind. Your most authentic communication, will come ONLY when you remove your imperatives and simply “be”. Great art comes from a place of higher consciousness or if it is an intellectual piece, higher thought. I believe, and have witnessed this process. If you are creating from a place of having a set “goal”….i.e. ” I will get my work into 10 galleries this year, or “I will earn a certain amount of $ from the sale of my art this year”, you are in some ways dooming yourself to a failure of the psychic sort. I am not implying that you might not get the 10 galleries, or the money you are after, but you are creating a PRODUCT for the market which is different than letting true inspiration flow….if we are lucky, motivated and willing to put in the elbow grease, those things (inspiration and commerce) will cross paths…and THAT is nirvana….
Many of us (and I count myself in this) have created items “to get some sales”, only to have those things languish in galleries….many of us have created things that do sell, and almost take on a life of their own…having to produce hundreds of the darn thing, only to be wondering “is this what I really wanted to do with my creativity?” ( I have been here too)…. the work that makes me proudest to sell are the pieces that truly came from deep within me, somewhere that I love to travel to, but remains part of the mystery. When the intersection of my artistic outpourings and ‘commerce’ occurs, it is magic…like a conversation or a song between myself, and the person who has chosen to wear the piece. Your best and most truthful art will be created without goals in mind. Georgia O’Keefe once said (and I am paraphrasing here) as she railed against art critics that were analyzing her paintings…”I simply paint because that is my language, that is how I best express myself… I paint because I have things to say that you cannot put into words….”
My creative “goal” for 2009 is to keep reaching deep for that authentic voice within me, stay true to it and to remain confident that others out there will want to listen in. My “goal” for everyone out there with a story or a dream to tell is to send you a prayer that you will find the place to be brave, find your true flow and share it with the universe for the greater good. We all have something truthful to say….most great artists had that internal imperative to create, whether or not ANYONE was listening….if you recognize this in yourself, find your authentic voice, and live out loud…those who hear you will answer… you will be best prepared to hear that answer when you are telling your truth….peace.