the creative spark

I've been thinking a lot about time lately, as you can probably glean from my last few posts.  Trying to make more time, organize time, save time.  One of the things I miss a lot, which I feel like I don't have time for, is art making.  I never realized what a luxury it was to be an art student.  All you do is make art.  And you're all, "ugh, I have a drawing due on Friday in my Drawing II class, and I have to finish my print series before Monday to present it, and I have this business card to design for my typography class" and then all of a sudden you have no time to make art!  That's not true, I've slowly given that time away.  You have to fight for it, because it's art and it's not like it's bringing home the bacon (unless you're lucky).  

I have a pretty creative lifestyle, but I've realized that most of my creativity is focused on pleasing other people.  I'm never thinking of what I want to draw for myself, I'm always trying to decipher what the client wants, not what I want.  But that's how it works if you're not making your living as a studio artist, you're designing for clients.  Which can be great!  I love the design work I've done for clients.  But in some ways I think designing for clients has trained me to not design for myself, because, to think about it in the pavlovian sense, I'm "punished" when I do something I want because then (sometimes) I get feedback from the client saying they don't like it.  No matter how much designing for clients I've done, it's always hard to hear, as an artist having created something you thought was beautiful, when the client says "no, re-do this, I don't like it."  Honestly, it's really an emotional thing to deal with and I think you start unintentionally training yourself to stop trying to even think about making something you like, and focus more on just making the client happy.  And while I like doing design work,  I'm thinking of taking a break from my design work for a few months, so I can have time to put pencil to paper and actually get back to making art for myself.  I think, as an artist, that it's important to be able to hone your own craft and have your own perspective and aesthetic.  And I think that ultimately it's a benefit to a client, because at the end, I'm going to have more creativity to draw on.  At least, that's my mental justification.  

dress/courtesy of elegantees :: jacket/lulu's via swap :: boots/courtesy of blowfish
tights/target :: bag + scarf/thrifted :: photos by Dan

I know a lot of artists have dry spells, and I know that I'm not being completely un-creative.  I'm painting our house, doing tons of interior decor, putting together outfits, doing photography and graphic design ... but there is something about that physical act of making marks on a blank canvas.  Something that needs no function other than to be beautiful.  It has no rules, no one can say, "no, move that line over there, change that color to be a bit lighter," it's total freedom and pure creativity.  I need more of that in my life.  Pure, unadulterated creativity.