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What Started You As An Artist?

Friday 10th October 2014

The end of the year is fast approaching, and times like this often inspire us to take a look back at the previous year, at everything we've accomplished and everything that we still have yet to do. Sometimes, it makes us look even farther back at how we arrived at the places we are now in our lives, and artists feel this perhaps even more keenly than others. The creative process is inherently reflective, and is effective largely because of our past experiences and how they shape us. Just as an exercise, as this year comes to a close, take some time to look back at your artistic career, no matter how long it's been, and take stock of where you are now compared to where you started.
To get yourself into the reflective mood, start by looking back over what you've done this year so far. How has your technique changed? What have you begun to learn or experiment with? What do you wish you'd done that you didn't have time or inspiration for? This is one of the times when it really pays to maintain a kind of archive, not just of your work (because of course you do that anyways) but also of all the various bits and pieces of inspiration you've found and experiments and process work you've doubtless created. They provide a chronology of your development, a kind of textual mirror of your artistic sensibilities.

Then start looking farther back, so that you really get a sense of where your artistic career came from. What made you decide to become an artist in the first place? For almost all of us, it was a conscious choice at some point in our lives, even if we don't remember the exact moment - but even better if you do remember. What potential forks in your artistic path did you pass by along the way? Are any of them worth going back and re-examining?

There is a great, wondrous and often inspiring sense of place that can be found in coming back full circle to where you began. Even if you're not happy with the place you're in now, seeing how far you've come (or haven't) can provide the drive you need to continue to grow and evolve as an artist. So take some time to look back this year at the past, and let it propel you forwards into the future - and if you haven't been saving your inspirations, experiments, and process pieces, start to do it now!

Posted on October 10th 2014 on 08:12pm

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