Ask An Artist-Blog series-Delving into the Soul of an Artist
Welcome to the to my new blog series “Ask an Artist“! In this blog I answer questions that fans and aspiring artists send me via facebook and twitter regarding my career, techniques, and opinions about art/being an artist. Most of my fans know I am pretty candid about things, and they know they can ask me just about anything. So stay tuned to this blog, you might read some “not average” answers to uncommon questions
Todays First Question comes from Catherine
Does part of your soul go into your art pieces and how can you bare to part with your work?
Excellent Question, this is an issue many aspiring artists run into.
The quick answer to the first part of your question is Yes, as a professional artist, my entire soul goes into every piece of art I create. My experience with the art is during the creation process. Once I finish a piece of art I’m literally done with it, time to move on and start the next one. To me, being a good artist is about continuing to move forward, like a shark. If a shark stops swimming forward, it dies. So as an artist, I don’t want to be hung up on something I all ready experienced. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about my art. I appreciate what I have created, I’m just more excited to move on to the next painting. As a result I honestly have no need to hold on to any art work. I’ve never sold a piece of art that I feel bad about not having any longer (though I’ve wanted to make sure a few peices went to the right people). If anything, it’s quite the opposite. I am HAPPY that my art has moved on and is out there creating new experiences and ideas for some one else. If I ever had created a piece that I wanted back, I know I could always recreate a new piece and probably make it better, though I have never felt the need to do that.
With all that said, I did not always have this attitude. Here is the origin of this seemingly apathetic point of view:)
One day in Art School I was steadily working in my studio space on some assignment for class. My teacher was walking through mentoring us as we worked, and he came to a stop at my studio. He said “Wow” as he looked at the completely covered wall of art work in my studio. He asked “Is this all your work?”, proudly I said “Yes it is”, and he just stared up and down at my wall, but he never really stopping to look at one piece. He asked to see what I was working on, so I showed him, he looked, then looked up at my wall again. It was driving me nuts, so I said “What?!”. He said, “well, I was thinking of a way to talk to you about your wall. But I’m not sure if your ready for the challenge.” I was at art school to learn so I told him to lay it on me. He did, and man was it a lot to take in. He explained to me that while my art work was good, it was all looking the same and there was no sense of growth in any of it. He suggested that a big part of the problem could be that I was too heavily influenced by my own art that I had completely surrounded myself with like some sort of fort. I had no other influences coming in except for the things that I had gotten fairly good at, at that time. He suggested that I change my studio up and put up some art work of other artists that I respected. He said I didn’t have to get rid of all my work on my walls if I didn’t want to, but before he could finish I ripped down every drawing on my wall. I got what he was saying because I had been feeling like I was chasing my tail for many years. I wanted to show him I meant business and wanted all the wisdom and advice he could bestow on me. So he went on to talk to me about understanding that everything we see, touch, smell, and hear influences what we create. If we surround our selves with our selves, we become incapsulated by this strange ego induced continuum. Like that scene in Being John Malkovich when he climbs into his own head
I obviously impressed my teacher with my commitment to grow and learn because ALL of my teachers on campus began challenging me the very next day. It was like there were class lesson plans and then there were lesson plans for Randy Martinez. Many teachers were very blunt with me, but all of them told me they challenged me because they could see I was capable of so much more than what I had been coasting on at school so far. We are not talking technical challenges, we are talking life changing philosophical challenges. I left school everyday vexed with thousands of new questions about where I was, what had been, and where I was going. But oddly, I loved it, I needed it, I wanted it. Finally, like some surprise pop quiz, I was given my greatest challenge…in front of the whole class no less.
By my Senior year I had become very good at drawing life models, all thanks to the tutelage of my teachers. One day, I drew what was by far the best drawing I had ever done. I was so proud, and Im embarrassed to admit that sat there and marveled at my accomplishment like “Wow, you just create that? What?”.
Some students gathered behind me looking at this drawing I just finished, it was REALLY surreal. Then my teacher stood hind me and said “That is really outstanding… but can you let go of it?” I was like “WHAT?”. He repeated ” Can you get rid of it? This is a great drawing, but is it the last drawing you will ever do? Is it the best drawing you will ever do? Do you plan on Selling it? If not, what are you going to do with it? Did you feel better after you were drawing it or while you were drawing it?”, I said ” honestly, I loved the feeling of drawing this, and the feeling of glory is already fading. I keep going back to that feeling of euphoria while I was drawing… and I can’t wait to have that feeling again!” I took a long look at my drawing and somehow it just looked like an old photo to me. So I took the drawing off my board and tore the drawing in half. The other students gasped, but my teacher looked at me and gave me a little grin. He knew I got it, and I felt like some how I graduated from everything my teachers were trying to teach me. It’s been about 15 years since that story took place, and to answer my teachers questions now…I’ve done Thousands of drawings since that day. I have drawn much better drawings since then. I can get rid of it, and I learned that the most important part of a piece of art work is the journey while creating. It is in those moments that great art is created. It is in those moments that gives the artist the food they need for their passion.
So, for that reason… I have no problem letting go of art work, because it’s about the journey, not the finish.