Deconstruct

According to Merriam-Webster deconstruct can mean to destroy or demolish, it can also mean to exam or take apart.  In my case, it means both.

The first time someone realized I had some artistic talent a path was laid in front of me.  I’m not even going to try and guess how old I was, but at some point, someone saw some hidden talent in one of my early art experiments and declared I was an artist, and that’s a title I have carried with me until today.

I went to college for art, commercial art to be exact.  I don’t regret that for a minute, I loved college art.  I just should have stopped there.

As I grew older and my art improved the pressure to achieve more also grew.  When people see you have a talent or strong skill set they assume you should be using that talent, gracing the world with your gift.  And you believe that.  You hear that and you think they are right, I need to be using my gift, my talent.  Some people do, and they love it, and they love the path they are on.

After college, I struggled with art, and that struggle grew with age.  For over thirty years I have struggled with this.  I invested so much time, energy, and finances into finding my artistic voice.  I often blamed the lack of focus and inspiration on the materials, the lack of inspiring views, and the distractions that come with owning an old house.  The blame was also placed on my insecurities, fear of failure, or the fear of my art not being appreciated.

When I did get around to making art I did make some nice pieces, I also had some failures.  But that voice inside me kept yelling “just stop!” and I kept trying to ignore that voice while I continued to struggle.  And the books, so many books, and DVDs have been purchased in the pursuit of finding that spark.  Lots of my time was also spent on YouTube looking for tips and direction.  But none of that worked and I continued to wonder why I wasn’t able to follow this path.

With every good piece, friends were quick to acknowledge my efforts and cheer me on.  And I appreciated every kind word I heard!  I would also hear that this talent I had was a gift and how happy they were I was sharing this with them and the world.  All of this was well-intended and heartfelt, and again, I appreciated every bit of it.  But all those kind words further cemented this idea that this was what I was meant to do, this was my path.

During all those years of searching for my artistic voice, I struggled with anxiety, and most recently a struggle with severe depression.  I always thought art was my healing moment, it was what grounded me, yet I rarely made time for it.  I always thought the things I made a priority before art were distractions, yet those were my healing moments.  I would find myself pulling weeds or staking the tomatoes on the really hot and humid days.  During the times I would block off to make art I would end up cleaning the house or organizing the garage.  Those were the things that made me feel grounded.  And the anxiety grew more and more as I tried to force myself back onto this artistic path, this destiny of mine.

This past weekend I realized all these distractions I kept battling against, all these things that I made time for weren’t really distractions at all.  They were the things that mattered to me, they made me complete.  For the first time in my life I said out loud I did not want to be an artist.  It felt great, I could feel a weight slipping off my shoulders, but I also felt as though I was betraying my path, who I was supposed to be.  But in reality I was admitting to myself what I’ve been feeling for years, I do not want this for myself.

So that brings us back to the deconstruct.  I’m planning to deconstruct my studio at home, take down most of my framed art, take apart my giant work island, sort and put away my art supplies, I’ll probably donate some of them too.  I’m also going to deconstruct myself, pick apart the pieces that don’t fit and clear space for what really should be there.

Creativity can take many forms, I’m not sure where mine will take me, but I do know I am going to give myself the freedom and space to explore whatever paths I find.  I’m not committing to never draw or paint again.  Chances are pretty good I’ll grab a pencil or some paints and make something at some point in the future.  But I’ll do it out of a true desire and not because I feel I should or because I think it’s expected of me.

As for this blog, I’m not going anywhere.  I’ll still post my thoughts and rambles, and any creative things I happen to find myself enjoying.  I’m a creative person, it’s how I’m wired.  I’ll always need creative outlets, but from for now on, I’ll be exploring them without the pressure I’ve always felt to make art.

Thanks for sticking through another long post…take care…Erik

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Deconstruct

  1. One has to follow their own path. I respect you for being able to see through the confusion and find it.
    I do hope you will continue to share your thoughts on this blog, as long as, you have the desire to keep doing it.
    Cheers & best of luck to you and your newly discovered path(s).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mike. It’s pretty exhausting trying to be someone you’re not, I’m just glad I figured it out now. And yes I’ll keep posting out here. Years ago a had a garden blog and loved it, this will begin to morph into a general dumping ground for whatever interest me. I’m still carting my camera around, looking for those abstract shots.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can totally feel your struggle. A year ago I made a two sided logbook sponsored by my inner critic.
    1st side:
    30 Days of Excuses, Frustrations, Gripes, Whines, Curses and Discouragements
    It is to explore where I waste time, avoid work, avoid play,
    how my inner critic speaks up…
    2nd side:
    30 Days of Insights, Innovations, Imaginations, Gratitudes
    On the flip side are the reminders of the good, the optimistic,
    the praiseworthiness, the hopes and all the gratitudes…

    I noticed that the Excuses side kept bringing up my problems with myself .
    The Insights side countered with what was important, even if it was just that the sun was out.

    Outcome: I saw that the whiny-assed complaints in the beginning were portals to solutions. Solutions using the insights I had to what made a positive difference in my days, moods and satisfaction.

    Yay for you in realizing that your chosen profession may not be your path in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think it’s ever too late to step back and really look inside, it’s just some things are harder to see when we think we know we’re looking for. I’m happy you made your lists and found some insight.

      Like

  3. Thank you sharing this, I really appreciate you totally honesty during the different stages you’ve been through and your ups and downs. I am a person that loves art with a passion and still struggle from time to time with the action action of creation. But it is true, there is creativity in pulling weeds and planting tomatoes, in cleaning your home and straighten your garage. You make creative choices in all of those things and more (*Legos*). So whatever you do, wherever your creativity takes you, I look forward to reading about your journey when you choose to share it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jenn. I really think there’s a difference between being creative and being artistic. They can work together or independently of each other. I’m now seeing the creative part is what matters to me. I’m glad you’re still happy making your art, we all have to look at our paths and decide where to go.

      Like

  4. I LOVE following your journey. Looks like you’re at one of those pesky forks. I feel one coming on too. I’ll be moving to Arizona by the end of the year. I think it’ll mean an end to my music….maybe. I started down THAT road at the tender age of three. I’m thinking of getting back into photography or art. Maybe we can follow each other. Remember, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Brother, I always appreciate hearing from you. I’d love to follow your new adventures out west, I truly hope we can follow each other. I think the photography will be something I’ll keep exploring, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the world through a viewfinder. I’m sure we’ll chat more elsewhere, but I wish nothing but the best and happiness for you.

      Like

  5. Eric, I struggle with depression and the whole artist thing. I just draw in my sketchbook and consider it a hobby for me and that feels good. Maybe it’s my age but I’m done with Becoming an ARTIST. i am just a human an average human and a happy one at the moment. Hope your new “letting go of the striving and just living a happy life work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sheryl, so far this new version is working well. We spent the day converting my studio in a lounge, we’re both much happier with space.
      I’m happy you’ve been able to let go of expectations and just enjoy your creative time.

      Like

  6. I’m not sure quite why you are giving up, if it’s something that makes you anxious or depressed then you should but remember that a lot of people take up ‘art’ as a therapy. So that would mean you and me have been in therapy for many years. In my case it works well for me, in yours it seems not. As a rule, I find it’s not a good idea to value the words of ones near friends and relations with regard to anything creative, they’ll say it’s great when it’s not, just to be kind. Go back to it and try it out on a stranger, like you have been doing here, and there you’ll get valued opinions. But go back to it, and keep gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do agree with you, Paul. I’ve spent several days not making art, no sketching, no doodles, and I can feel it pulling at me. I’m even seeing more subjects to capture than I have in a while. Looking at this from a distance I can now see it wasn’t the act that was the issue it was what was the driving force behind it. I had been making art for others for so long I stopped doing it for myself. Looks like it’s time for an attitude adjustment.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s