The career of an artist is one of the few careers that your intentions and ideas need intense guidance and structuring as the creator can muster. We are left to our own devices in a corner of the world with no one to tell us what to create. Inevitably, you want to make something you have not made before. But for consistency sake, you have to keep the old connected to the new. It is not a must, but it helps in terms of an artist’s career.
We think we want someone to show up with all the ideas. Reality is, when someone does show up with ideas for us to pursue, it only confuses and disturbs our personal process. We realize we have already thought of all of their ideas plus a thousand more. It takes a long of reconfiguring and deducing ideas down to their simplest form that helps us “stumble” on to a new way of thinking and creating art.
One helpful thing to remember while we operate in an age with social media, is that you don’t have to be or have or do anything like anyone else. The world desires your art to be as you as possible. That allows everyone to experience your uniqueness. We will always learn and seek inspiration from others but ultimately, it feels the best when the art you create is completely yours. It is also okay if your work looks like another painter’s work. We are only human and can feel the way we feel. Guess what? We all feel very congruent emotions and perceptions about the world we exist in.
Bamidele Demerson taught me that the role of a museum is to “Appreciate the ways we are similar and celebrate the ways we are different.” In reality that is the job of every artist, musician, architect, cook, etc. We all are creating human things for other humans. In other words, the creator can visualize what others would experience from an idea before ever making the creation. The ability to feel how others feel is the gateway to creating with a purpose. I believe from that point, the context of your work will be more ground in your culture and society’s heartbeat.