Part 1: The Hardest Thing About Being an Artist

You see this is a thing they never tell you before you start. That is infinite possibilities can be paralysing, especially as no one here is imposing a deadline.

I never had this when I was in design school the brief was usually really narrow, and the deadlines were short. For example one of my favourites was a live brief where we had to design and make a series of work for the local tourist information based on something from Lancashire, so I chose the Marsh Mill. And made ceramic work that resembled the mill stones as cheeseboards, and these were unglazed so I had to grind and polish my test pieces to show off to representatives from the Tourist Information Centre, my work didn’t get finished so I never finished all the pieces I just moved on to the next project.

When I have done work for specific projects everything is done and ready to go boxed up in advance and that even included hundreds of custom things for a popup once, I made them in June for a September launch as my youngest child was about to be born.

Doing my teacher training was no different we would have 3-4 weeks to research and write about 2000 words whilst also on placement, teaching art to students whilst reading up on a topic, asking a mentor about it and then head down, working when my own children were asleep.

Having a deadline even in a job I would excel and aim to have it done plenty of time in advance, I don’t like being late, I will do things early send them off and then work on the next thing. Or even when I worked in a school all week I would be making ceramics and painting whilst my own children slept, I burnt the candle at both ends and in the middle to do everything that I felt I needed to be doing to escape that job, constantly working on and improving those skills.

When I did my Artist in Residence at the Blackpool School of Art I was really focused because there was a deadline so I did a lot of experimental work I knew I had a limited time working there, so I focused on one or two projects. Even then It took some time to settle in and focus because I started by looking at screen printing and then found relief printing a more focused way to work as it was immediate and fascinating, and I could take the plywood prints I was making, smash them into clay and make a clay print too. Whereas screens got stripped I still have my plywood plates.

I was asked to paint some of the JC Robinson Buildings in collaboration with The New Langdale Photographers, I just got my head down and painted them all within a few weeks, that’s what they wanted to see, I researched buildings for some that had been demolished, I am sure there were more but from my understanding, there isn’t access to a lot of the local government records as they are in storage so I sat down and researched using information from local heritage groups, using Streetview to go back to 2009. It was an amazing project to be part of and still unfinished from my side.

Earlier this year I had focus and a deadline I painted forty-odd new paintings from January to April looking at a solo show I had to cancel in the end but I had a deadline and I worked, and I created some amazing paintings of Scotland and Blackpool that I still haven’t photographed. I also made 60 bowls for a project, that I still need to push forward.

But recently there has been no deadline, no shop I am supplying. I do my daily sketchbook and my daily writing in a notebook and then I sit here and generate too many ideas, too many plans of action and instead of doing anything I end up doing nothing. so the first three months of the year I made over 100 new pieces of art for the second three months I have made a couple of rough maquettes and only painted with the Urban Sketchers and for The Old Electric Creative Network Breakfast Meeting

I keep getting caught in the endless possibilities of creating rather than just creating. I can make whatever I want and instead, I just plan the things I could make.

So this is where we need to make a plan (another one really) to make a change and do things that are interesting and that’s probably a cue for another post.

Oh hi there đź‘‹
It’s nice to meet you.

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2 thoughts on “Part 1: The Hardest Thing About Being an Artist”

  1. There are so many possibilities it is hard…but you must focus and carry something right through.

    Being an artist isn’t easy..I remember Dave Petersen the Blacksmith from Carmarthenshire saying it is like opening your chest and showing your soul to the world…

    1. I find the other problem is that I don’t like being perceived as that’s who I am. And ultimately this is the problem no matter how much I finish, I don’t talk about my work enough or share it enough, I only have one place that isn’t this website where people can buy my work and that other place is just ceramics and prints.

      The idea of not creating enough work isn’t my biggest problem but that what my head thinks about, ideally I need to focus on “finding my way to market” as the business things talk about, which means being perceived.

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