Monday, February 28, 2011

Feeling the Funk of the Creative Mind

Lately it seems every other artist I know is feeling a creative funk. Unable to draw the way you want. Lack of focus on what you want to create or even worse how to start it. Everything you touch seems to not be at the artistic level you are capable or below the vision you have for it in your mind. Maybe it’s the weather or the New Years blues, the economy or the sense that we are in a state of flux in the creative world. All these outside factors can be a part of the problem but I believe the root of most creative funks comes from inside.

I was once told that your art suffers the most right before you make a big jump up artistically. Your creative “eye” sees the problems in your work before your mind can convince your hand to solve them. What I mean is that as artists are minds are always running a sub-routine of problem solving in the back of our minds. We see how light hits the face of a stranger on subway or how the folds of jacket lay on a leather jacket on a mannequin in the window of a clothing store. We are always cataloging and sourcing for new solutions to what we don’t yet understand. Without even trying the creative mind is improving it’s internal vision of the world. Updating and sending messages like “that does not look right?”, “hey that arm looks funny.”. These messages come fast and furious and build up over time. So fast that often it leaves the artist with a feeling that everything looks wrong or my art work doesn’t look as good as it used to. In essence both of those feeling are true and real. Your creative eye has evolved beyond your physical drawing ability. It’s something you should accept and actually feel good about. Why? Because that frustration is really a doorway to better art work.

Once you know the truth behind why you are feeling the funk it’s can be a very liberating time. You don’t have to worry about creating something on a high level but you do need to keep working. Artists have a default mode where they feel unfulfilled if they don’t do a piece of art work that is “worth” showing. If you want to grow as an artist you have to be willing to accept that you will create some bad artwork. You shouldn’t feel bad about not hitting the mark because no piece is without some lesson to be learned . Even if the lesson is as simple as “that’s not what I want to do.”

The worst thing that can happen during a funk is to stop drawing. Many artists give up during this time or settle into a style that just amplifies their past knowledge base. They repeat again and again the style of drawing they are comfortable with. I’m sure you can track many artists that found something and just settled into it. Which is not bad per se but if art is about expression why would you want to say the same thing over and over again. Embrace the signs you are growing and move past the uneasy feelings with the knowledge beyond the “funk” is a blue sky of new abilities and new creative expression.

-karl

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