Saturday, April 6, 2013

are we having fun yet?

I had someone ask me recently if making art was fun. The question stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t know how to answer and had really never thought about it before. Well several weeks have passed and I can’t stop thinking about it. “Do I have fun when I’m making art?” I guess it depends on what it means to have fun so I looked up the definition and it said “enjoyment or lighthearted pleasure”.

I love the process and the problem solving of what I do. I love the final product when it all comes together. It’s an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. I make art because it’s something I HAVE to do. It’s who I am.

But it’s taken a lot to get to this point…5 years of design school, a 25 year career as a design professional ( I believe all of life’s experiences informs what you do) and the last 10 years of taking additional classes and workshops. I regret none of it. It’s all exactly as it needed to be and I’m extremely happy to be here.

I’m also one of those people who thinks those 10,000 hours of practice are worth it. I’ve never considered it boring and it has nothing to do with being perfect. I remember the frustration of wanting to make something but not having the skill. It was so discouraging and no fun at all. It’s hard to be creative when you have a vision of what you want something to look like but don’t know how to make it happen.

I feel I can be so much more creative when I know I can go into my studio and I don’t have to struggle with a technique because I’ve practiced it a 100 times and it now seems second nature to me. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle. Whether you did it with or without training wheels, you learned to balance first and be comfortable with that before you attempted any fancy moves. It may not have been fun but you did it anyway.

If you talk to people who are really good at what they do…an artist who makes his or her living from making art vs someone who creates art for “fun”… you will hear stories of dedication, sacrifice and lots of practice. I know this path isn’t for everyone. It’s a choice we all have to make as artists and decide to what level we want to take our art.

And you know what? I can now say I’m having fun. But it wasn’t always this way. I see the total enjoyment of what I do now as the reward for a lot of hard work. And isn’t that true of anything in life that’s worthwhile.