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STRUGGLING

For a while now I've looked with envy at some of those beautifully coordinated Instagram galleries of other artists. You know, the ones where everything seems to be in perfect place and everything somehow works together. Where rows upon rows of beautifully drawn portraits stare at you, or monsters from the abyss practically come crawling out of their frames. Those artists. Their one combining factor seemed, to me at least, to be a very distinctive and cohesive style. Or a very clear brand. One they've perhaps practiced for years, and one that only very subtly changes as the years go by. They seem to know exactly who they are and what they're doing and I can only look at them with envy and anxiety.

For a clear cohesive style is one thing that I definitely do not have. This never bugged me much before.  I always felt that what binds my work together is a certain imagery which makes you know it's of my hand, rather than a specific style I always work in. This allows me to freely move between disciplines of art, which is something that I sorely need to create in the first place. I thrive on it. 

Lately I've been feeling rather insecure about my lack of style however. I have a wide variety of interests and this has always been reflected in my work. I always try to find a new way of getting a story across with an image, or a series of images. Some days I feel like I should paint. Some days I feel like I should make a mixed media collage, some days I feel like I should film. I write, I paint, I film, I act, I sing, I make costumes. I do a lot with the time I'm given because it makes me happy. This makes it hard to develop one specific style or a clear specific brand, however.  I'm too impatient for it. Whenever I work in a certain style for too long, I get bored and simply have to do something different. I feel like I can't grow as an artist without doing that. I have a need to reinvent myself, but funnily enough I never feel like I'm reinventing myself and my art enough. I always feel like I could be better. More playful, more liberated. Lately this has also made me feel kinda directionless. I don't even know what to make in the first place. Because of my wide variety of interests, ideas are going through my head like rocket ships trippin' on acid fuel. I'm in the middle of that mess in my head and I almost get paralyzed by those ideas and thoughts. I have so many but nothing actually comes out of my hands, everything I think of stays safely in my brain, because I have no idea where to start and diving into them without knowing what they might become scares me enormously. 

Seeing artists with incredibly developed and cohesive styles on my social media everyday has made me incredibly insecure. There are so many and everyone produces amazing things. I've become Even more insecure now that I spend the majority of my time in my studio looking at a blank piece of paper wondering what the hell I could bring into this world it doesn't already have in abundance. Whatever I put out there never seems good enough to me.  And I think about style. And success. About my work and about myself as an artist. I lately feel that without a clear style, I might never ever get a job as an artist. This still might not happen since the cultural climate here is worse than it has been for years, but never mind that. I'm stuck. On one hand I feel  like I'm not concrete and cohesive enough and on the other hand I feel like I should be more explosive and unapologetic. Do whatever I want and never mind the outcome, as long as I've at least done something.

All this time I forgot one very important thing and that is, that in a way, the only artistic responsibility I have in the first place is to myself and to my work. I need to allow myself time and allow myself my own diversity. I need to allow my ideas to grow and develop and I need to allow myself to play around with them. To fail gloriously. Which is something that I intensely dislike and am not good at at all, but growth does lie in failure. And in experiment.  I need to allow myself the time to rediscover myself as an artist. Which stories do I want to tell and how do I wish to tell them? I need to let go of what I think an artist should be and focus on who I am as an artist.  I wish I could be an artist with a single, easily recognizable, cohesive style and be content with that. But I'm not. My lack of direction scares me but it also gives me the opportunity to do whatever the hell I want if I stick to that. I like doing a bit of everything too much to let it go. Maybe I will focus on one thing more than the other in the future, but for now I'm going to work with everything I got and I'm going to simply have fun again. 'Cause I tend too take everything too damn serious, and I need my crazy back. 

Lune van der MeulenComment