I just listened to this interview with Lisa Congdon by Monica Lee from Smart Creative Women - here. Lisa talks about my friend and fellow Jennifer Nelson Artist, Jennifer Orkin Lewis (August Wren) and her brilliantly successful sketchbook project. She talks about it in the context of finding what makes you enthusiastic - what makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning.
I've been working as an artist/designer pretty much my entire adult life, in one way or another, and obviously there have been creative peaks and troughs during that time.
I think university was probably one of my highest points creatively, where I had the opportunity to exercise the purest freedom to be myself and experiment artistically (for zero money). The grimmest period was the first few years after having my first child - where I wearily cranked out miserable looking designs two and a half days a week, to try and keep my hand in and earn enough to pay some bills.
And now!!! I'm riding the crest again! I'm doing what I want - and it's okay - clients like it! And a lot of it turns out to be collage! I don't know why but this really appeals to me. It's messy and chaotic and I can draw and paint on it... and I can't keep clicking the back button when something is wonky. But it's also clean and flat and bold and brightly colored. And at the end of it I'm holding something in my hand that can be propped up or hung (or scanned and photographed and messed about with!)
I can't tell you how many times I used to sit in an NY design studio and dream of expressing my own taste like this.
I look at what I'm creating now and think - well - it's not difficult is it? You always liked this stuff, these colours, these shapes, these layers. Why couldn't you have been doing this before? And the answer is...because I wasn't ready. I was in a constant low grade panic, with a (misguided) voice in my head telling me what was okay and what wasn't. And I didn't have the context or support to exercise that level of freedom. Over the last few years I've worked towards building that context and support, surrounding myself by voices that override my own when it tells me what I can't do.
One of those voices is Jennifer Nelson's. She's shouting loud and clear. The other voices are those of my online artist friends around the world. And then, most importantly, there are my clients - the ones who want to work with me, who think I'm doing a great job! Of course, at the end of all this though, there's me isn't there! I'm starting to understand what I REALLY like and go where I want to go. I'm cheering myself on - and on the days when the enthusiasm is ebbing, there's always Wilson (the disembodied head stuck to my computer stand) to remind me!