But after 24 hours and an admittedly small sample of responses, it was almost half and half. And among the people who said they DO make art everyday, I noticed a little more than half of them don't seem to self-identify as artists, which raised a question.
Does being "an artist" sometimes make it harder to "art"? Is there something in choosing to wear that mantle that puts barriers in our way?
I think for some of us the answer is yes.
I recalled a conversation I had with a friend just before I started work on my MFA. He, too, was the holder of an MFA, from a much fancier school than the one I was enrolling in, and he had a nice long exhibition record and even some interest from galleries. I told him I was starting my degree and how much I was looking forward to it, to the inspiration, the camaraderie, and to kind of feeling like I was earning that title of "artist." I asked him for any tips he might have to offer. He looked at the ground for a few seconds, and finally said "Graduate school made me afraid to do anything. Try not to let it do that to you."
Sure enough, graduate school put a little bit of a kink in my flow. I felt myself get more thoughtful, which on one level was good. But "thoughtful" kind of degenerated into "paralysis by analysis," and I sometimes found myself NOT creating because it didn't feel thought-out enough or serious enough or important enough. And I have had conversations with non-grad-school artists who, after becoming serious about putting themselves out there, found themselves reining in because now they were thinking about things they had never considered before, like target markets and portability for fairs and whether something was sellable.
You don't have to do this to yourself. Selling art isn't what makes you an artist. Making "serious" work isn't what makes you an artist. Getting in a gallery isn't what makes you an artist. You're an artist if you spend a lot of time 1) making art or 2) worrying about not making art.
I don't make art every day, although I try to be as consistent as possible and have created a fairly reliable routine for myself (more on that much later). I know a lot of us rely on teaching and other activities to supplement our incomes, and that takes away from our art-making time. Plus: families, friends, household chores, pets, West World rebroadcasts, and American Ninja Warrior. You get what I mean. The trick is to understand what you need to do in order
So you might want to make art every day or might not feel like that's necessary. We're going to experiment with an art-every-day challenge on Instagram in a couple of weeks, so please follow me if you'd like to come and play. And we'll also talk about tips for creating habits and systems that support you, so you can create art in a way that feels authentic and natural to you, whether that's every day or every other day or every week or every now and then.