The Artist – Learning to Love your Crap

Your art is crap.  You know this to be true.

What you may not realize is that Norman Rockwell, Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso thought the same thing.  AND they were right.

See, here’s the thing.  Being an artist is the act of chasing after the impossible.  You’re trying to bring an idea to life.  Not. Possible.  At best, all you can do is give the impression of the idea to others, so they can look at your art and say “Huh.  That’s a cool idea.”

Unfortunately for us insecure, introverted, creative types, giving someone a garbled idea of what we meant isn’t what we were striving for, and that’s depressing.
In fact, if you are thinking about seriously pursuing art, then you’re in for a long-term relationship with disappointment.

And so, we give up.  It’s the only rational choice, after all.

I mean, who wants to live a life full of disappointment?

Well, you do, actually.  I mean, if you are in fact an artist, you’ll be miserable if you’re NOT making art.  Heh, heh….  Caught, aren’t you?  Unhappy if you make art and miserable if you’re not. There’s nothing that you can do about being miserable because you’re NOT making art, but there IS stuff you can do ABOUT making art.

What you can do is to learn to love your crap.

Here is why you should: taking a crap idea or inspiration and putting it out where it can affect others (even a tiny bit) is 100 percent better than thinking a great idea and doing nothing.

Think about everyone you know who is writing a book.  Or, I should say, everyone who SAYS they are writing a book, but in fact don’t have anything more than part of one chapter and a crummy outline.
If you do ONE piece of crap art and put it out where people can see it, you have catipulted beyond where your friend is….from the hopeful creator to the REAL THING.  Yes, it’s crap, and you know this, but the sheer fact that you have actually DONE anything sets you apart.  It makes you an artist. (You might actually be able to make some money off of that crap.)

And here’s the sweet part: The more crap you make, the better you get at making it.
I’m not saying it won’t be crap, mind you, but it will be improved.  And maybe, if you keep improving, then every once in a while, you’ll do something that isn’t crap.

Won’t that be worth it?  Isn’t that what you really want….to NOT make crap?

Well, there’s only one way down that road, my friend, and that’s by making a bunch of crap and trying like hell to make every piece the best you can.

Do NOT be subdued or sidetracked when you have failed.  If a piece is a failure, it does NOT mean YOU are a failure. 

YOU are an artist.  And if you have made crap…you have proof of that.
Now, carry on.

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4 comments

  1. Good one! Sometimes I cringe when I think about my work that's out there on the internet from years ago, but it's part of the process, and I'm still making stuff, different and better work. That fear of crap can be crippling though and your piece is a great reminder. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for that, Katie! I really hate looking back at work I've done in the past as well…even the stuff I've just made doesn't live up to what it could have been in my mind….so we continue the chase. It's almost like being a kitten chasing a laser dot on the wall.
    Except that ONE day…we're gonna catch that sucker…. 🙂

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