How Can Life Change So Much In A Few Months?

Since the new year rolled in, I’ve been struggling a bit to balance art-making and my day job.

Not because I’m necessarily overloaded with work or extremely stressed; it’s more that I can’t seem to get in the ‘zone’ of painting when all I have to work with is a few hours a week. I can’t decide if it’s lack of motivation, frustration or a bit of laziness (probably all three), but it’s awful to feel like I’m in a stagnant stage of my practice.

My day job is not art-related in any way shape or form, and whilst I do like this separation from time to time, most of the time I feel as though I’m drifting away from my identity as an artist the more I get into the 9-5 routine.

La Wayaka Current Tropic 08°N Expedition, Guna Yala, Panama // October 2018

As I sat at my desk earlier today I found myself thinking of how crazy it is that just three months ago I was living in the Darien jungle with a group of amazing artists who taught me so much. And how, about ten days after I arrived back home, I got a full-time corporate job.

It’s crazy how fast life situations change.. but also hugely exciting.

I’m genuinely really grateful to my current day job for giving me the chance to build up financial independence, meet great people and release some of the pressure that comes from creating art and new ideas day in day out.

Balance. Will let you know when I find it.

2019: Allowing Confusion And Holding Myself Accountable

2018 was one hell of a year.

However, to regurgitate one of the age-old clichés, it was a year of highs and lows.

Amongst the travel and new connections and freedom there was pure confusion, indecision, inertia.

It seemed as though with each new residency or group exhibition, I lost the ability to make work ‘just because’, and every time I’d sit down to paint it would turn into an arduous mental challenge to produce the next great masterpiece.

Of course, this behaviour is completely counterintuitive and has zero validity in the life of an artist.

I felt as though, through my work in 2018, I was trying to run before I could walk - create work that was polished and coherent and neat without allowing myself to jump the necessary hurdles of making a lot of genuinely shit work first.

I had an idea of what I wanted my work to be (what it would represent, how it would look), yet absolutely no idea how to get there, and rather than allowing this to play out naturally through experimenting with new work, I fell into this weird stagnation, where the thought of painting became too overwhelming that I sacked it off altogether.

After having some serious contemplation time over the new year, I’ve decided that I’m adamant I will not let this spool over into 2019. I am committing to painting (or drawing, or collage, or ceramics) for at least 1 hour per week.

I’m really hopeful that having this teeny slice of dedicated time, will really add up over the weeks. In the spirit of setting achievable goals, I think this one is simple and small enough for me to actually stick to.

A friend of mine recently told me to accept the confusion that comes with making art. Swim in it and work with it, not against it. Here’s to a year of making work that means nothing in particular, or everything all at once. Here’s to sticking to my weekly art quota, and seeing the results accumulate. Here’s to seeing my work develop exponentially, because it’s no ones responsibility but my own.