I realized something yesterday. I will find the downside of everything I do. I make something or achieve something and then I will judge it against others or not being good enough and I will make it a failure.
Take threadless for example. I make t shirt designs for threadless and at the back of my mind I know I won’t win, I say I am not cool enough or I am too ‘girly’ for the mainly hip younger male crowd that seems to get designs printed. But the thing is I have good ideas I just don’t have the Photoshop skills to really make them shine and I find they improve slowly as I go. A part of me takes it personally when I get a low score and feel like I am failing again whereas really I am pitching to the wrong audience and there are lots of people out there who like my art and show support and I don’t count those but I count the people who don’t like my stuff. Failure.
Doesn’t mean I am going to stop making designs for threadless, it’s actually been an education to do them. I stretch my skills at graphic art and sometimes the best way to really see a design objectively and see how I could push it further or bring it closer to what I had in mind is to put it out there in front of people. And threadless has some really wonderful artists and designers submitting designs and I learn from them too as to what is possible. I just need to stop judging myself a failure.
I suppose that’s the balance. Knowing my capabilities and skills and how best I use them and where I can improve them and then the other side of believing in what I do right now and not belittling it because it doesn’t measure up to where I think I should be or what others are doing. And also to do things for my own pleasure and practice and not to be secretly looking for approval from the audience I am showing it to.
I remember when I was younger and my mum would always make sure we knew how good we were in relation to the others we were going in against in competition. She had them all pegged and pinned into the level of their skill and value as musicians. I was never going to win, I wasn’t good enough, but sure I could try anyway if I wanted. I did want, and I wanted to prove her wrong, but you know, I always ended up proving her right. There were always lots of kids ‘better’ than me. It became a measure of my worth and still is really but now I don’t want it anymore. To see something is to own it and to own it is to be able to leave it behind. I don’t know what I would have done in her place, if a child of mine was going in for a competition that I knew she wasn’t going to win. I think I would probably say nothing at all and just wish her luck and do her best and maybe I wouldn’t put them in competitions in the first place. Its not her fault, she was just following the track she was taught and it was fun also. We did loads of choir competitions and they were fun to head off to with the class.
Maybe that’s it, I am still in competition and wanting to win and never getting the prize because the prize doesn’t really exist anymore. I am in competition with myself for elusive perfection and self approval that I never give myself because no matter what I do there is always the part I failed to do. I don’t congratulate myself for having learnt the piece and practiced and got up and played in front of everyone I judge the fact I wasn’t the best in the eyes of everyone else out there. I don’t say wow well done I have had a few exhibitions and sold work and make art that makes me happy and fulfills me I judge myself that I don’t sell more or don’t have a big gallery behind me or am not ‘well known’ in the academic art circles which in reality I don’t want to belong to anyway. I wait for the world to recognize me when I am not seeing myself.
wow, just had a thought…. maybe thats why I paint faces all the time… I need someone to see me!