February 19, 2006

Artistic Self Esteem

Artistic self esteem. Now there's a tricky subject. Basically, most artists I know are never 100% happy with their art. This brooding discontent can easily turn into an artistic complex... or even worse. I know first hand that even famous artists are almost never fully happy with the work they've done, especially older work.

Sometimes it might seem to other people that artists are totally self absorbed... that we're only focused on Me!, Me!, Me!. But in fact we're all we've got. It's like that Picasso quote... "When it comes down to it, all you have is yourself. The rest is nothing."

We're not part of any team. No one else can guide our brush or ideas much... no one else can get in-between us and our art. We're totally responsible for it's outcome and when it's done we have only ourselves to thank or blame.

I think that's why artists can sometimes seem self absorbed... and obsessed about their work.

And of course discontent is always the first step towards change and improvement. So if an artist isn't happy, that's just par for the course. I think non artists imagine that the creative process is some kind of wonderful walk down a marble staircase with perfect happiness achieved at the end. It can be fun... but often in fact the reality is the opposite. It's often more like mud-wrestling an alligator and winding up missing a few digits.

The painting above is one of my paintings on canvas.
That's what I do on that rare Sunday when I'm not totally tired of making illustrations... a Busman's Holiday for sure.
I'd like to someday actually paint and sell canvases, since it's so much the opposite of illustration.

It's BIG, it's done without deadlines, there are no 'art specs' to fulfill, there's no narrative usually, it can be seen from across the room and it's not just a tiny illustration that fits into a book sized page.

It's actually kind of a therapy... kind of like how riding a bike is a perfect cure for too much driving in traffic.


PG said...

There IS a joyous freedom in this, (if that's not too pretentious), like a dog let off the leash! I love the colours especially.

John Nez said...

Thanks... it's fun to just slosh great gobs of paint over a big canvas... without a care as to narrative storytelling or figure details.

And what kind of really bugs me is that I get LOTS more response from people over my paintings than from my illustrations.

Might be a message there for me....

janee said...

That's lovely, John. I think there is narative in all art.

medaydreamer said...

Hi John!
I'm an artist from Tacoma who found your site and I have to tell you the painting is very nice. I love the colors.

Ruth McNally Barshaw said...

John, I love your blog.
It's the perfect venue for you.
And I remain a devoted fan of your art, all of it.

John Nez said...

Gosh thanks Ruth.... I'm flattered.

Glad to know there's people out there actually reading it. I'm so pleased that you're getting that book published... that's just great... the way things ought to be.

Onward & Upwards... or at least Ever Onwards...


BekkaPoo said...

I feel so good now about my creative "selfishness" now that I've read your post.. it's just part of the package when it comes to this passion. It's what will eventually set you apart from the herd.