My daughter Ivy Neff is at the end of her undergraduate studies at a cool art school north of Boston called Monserrat. It was written for her art school cohorts, but I think her Facebook post might also resonate with many folks I know in this industry.
“To any Montserrat seniors who think that documenting your studio hours is a waste of time: When I had my studio at school I had a sign in/sign out sheet taped to the wall and I was always over 15 hours- never thought much of it. Now that I’m through with school and having to paint on my own, I’ve been finding it really difficult to get motivated (lots of excuses- oh, my room is too dark, there’s no space, I keep getting interrupted, etc)… But a few days ago I made a sign in/ sign out sheet, which felt silly because it’s my bedroom, but it has made the biggest difference. Having strict studio times and a visual accountability for that time is so important. I’ve realized that as soon as I “sign in” my brain switches gears to “studio brain”, and I find it much easier to zone out all those things that were making it difficult for me to focus. I have always felt that to be an artist you have to be a little OCD and in the end being obsessive about the way in which you work is just as important as obsessing over the work itself.”
I know that many of you do some aspect of office or production all day whether in the service of prints, garments, embroidery or what have you. However, many of us also write stories, write poems, draw, make films, design garments, paint, or play music. I could tell you about dozens of folks I know personally in the industry who pursue creative pursuits, from Michelle who makes films to Andy who creatively paints motorcycles. Our lives get full of our work and that creative part of us gets stifled and that’s not healthy. To get back at that creative work, carve out some space physically and mentally. To do it, use a trick like Ivy’s or something you come up yourself. I am sure you can figure out something.
Hey, it is good for the soul and what is good for you in that way might just improve your work as well.