Discovering unity from two sides of my personality and how it has helped me become a better artist.
Everyday we spend the better part of our lives trying to understand and develop an awareness of who we are. I know this topic is broad and dangerous in some circles, but this written piece is geared towards the Academic self-concept. The concept refers to the personal beliefs about a person's academic abilities or skills. Or more specific for this post, the personal relationship I have with myself and how it translates to my creativity. I am not a psychologist, or even paid for my opinion, but I do take up topics such as art and what it can do for the mind. Below is my feeble attempt to explain the symbiosis of my self identity and my artistic style as it is today.
Chaos • Doodles • Subconscious
This first self was a young self. It lived unheeded, and irrational. Free to associate, disassociate, bend and break rules. Without precise functionality life bent to this 'self.'
We shall call it Chaos for that is what it brings. It is both empty and full. At a younger age I was aware that the untamed Chaos was not allowed by my adult betters. The tasks put before me that already had a prescribed outcome left little area for experimentation. Such as, "color inside the lines," and "No sweetie, apples are suppose to be red." That's what everyone said, but that didn't make any sense why it mattered so much.
The idea that everything had a "way" seemed boring and didn't seem to require any effort. I mean, why throw thought to the coloring of a fire truck if it is ALWAYS red? So, early on the subconscious took over and turned everyday tasks automatic. At this point of automation nothing seemed to spark any joy.
"to Doodle" is to aimlessly sketch when preoccupied
The joy I did find came from picking up a pencil and letting that writing utensil do what it wanted to do. Making something from nothing allowed me some peace. Making something that didn't have any rules associated with it, such as a red fire truck, was enlightening.
The definition of "to Doodle" is to aimlessly sketch when preoccupied. There were no expectations with doodling. No mental portrayal of feelings, just raw emotions and thoughtlessness imagined.
I consider this to be in the realm of Chaos because at that time I had no real direction. Both in the kind of art produced and what was to come from it. Even if there was to be something come from it. There was no hidden intent that came with mind provocative master painters, creating during a time that needed secret messages.
With such a thoughtless exercise, magic seemed to be created. The freedom of creating for creating's sake. Doodling allowed me to be 'bad' and 'messy' and 'ugly.' To be honest not all the colors mixed well, and not all the shapes made sense. And with that sense of accomplishment came a degree of success, but it wasn't sustainable.
Order • Refine • Conscious
For the longest time thoughtless chaos was how I perceived my art. It happened effortlessly. Avoiding any meaning or reason why, it just was. It was a present style that ignored the past or future. As I grew as a person I realized I wanted more out of my style, and it was a difficult lesson to evaluate that self and be critical. It worked, so why mess with it?
Self appraisal theory states that people have a tendency to maintain a positive evaluation of themselves by putting space between their positive attributes verses their negative ones. The newly developed Order I strived for, views that past Chaos as a negative. Therefore my new direction was opposite, to refine my artistic style and develop art that "meant something." At that time I did not know for who.
The objective was to create pieces that meant more, and sparked a sense of awe in others. Creating for others is a difficult task. This was my conscious effort to make my art make sense to people who view it. That attempt to take my ideas and stretch them across the territorial map of others' perception always forced some kind of compromise. Creating pieces for others is the same as spinning plates while performing BMX stunts on a unicycle. There are so many factors to consider just to make what is "liked" by the masses.
Chasing acclaim, or recognition was a shallow expression of creative power.
My creativity stumbled, I traded honesty with myself, for peer acceptance. This period of life was a short and frustrating one. It was a very teachable set of moments that taught me that chasing acclaim, or recognition was a shallow expression of creative power.
Bringing it all together • Reaching for maturity • Future Self
Now that the pendulum has visited both sides of its arc my personality and the art created from it can be more centered. With both aspects kept in mind, a more successful attempts to create can be viewed with clarity and generate a level of confidence. Talent is a phenomenon that occurs with unmistakable persistence, and discovery of the self.
If you are uncertain about who you are, then how can you expect to communicate your craft in any way? Habits are longer lasting than weak efforts of a young person who didn't know himself. That was me battling Order and Chaos individually, but reaching a level of maturity has transformed my thought process. Through the trials and tribulations, and multitude of failures, I have learned a few things. Currently I am creating what brings me joy. That concept generates a level of confidence within myself, and I hope it will translate in my art.
Nobody needs permission to live a creative life. Learn about yourself, and live it. This is the only life we have and if we don't create a beautiful world, we will never have a beautiful world.