Change is necessary,
Change is scary.
As an artist, I sometimes feel like I’m not allowed to change my style or alter my artistic output too drastically. Do you ever feel that way? As though you can’t evolve from who you are right now because maybe the changes will leave others questioning what you’re doing or why you’re doing it? Your identity ends up being questioned in a way that you feel uncomfortable with, or we assume as much anyway. It is quite foolish, I admit, to withhold change out of fear - this fear that I might disappoint others or perhaps lose them in my life all together.
Then again, this worry has no place in my life, and it has no place in yours either.
Yet, this fear tends to linger in the back of my mind and has me questioning myself on a daily basis.
The big what ifs.
What if I change and the whole world hates it?
What if I just actually suck?
what if what if what if...
These heavy what ifs sometimes make me contemplate throwing in the towel.
They’ll just move on from me and find something else. Something (someone) better.
Eventually (thankfully) I realized that this fear was rooted in the judgments of other people and not what I needed as an artist to feel fulfilled in my daily attempts to express myself. Fear should not hold me back from transforming into new versions of myself. I know deep down what I’m capable of and the sense of urgency I feel to try new things all of the time. I should not be making assumptions and pre-judging myself for others. That’s where the trouble rests, dormant until I throw some dirty paint water mixed with insecurity in its face.
Now, what changed my mind (finally)? Another artist.
It took going to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit in Toronto to boost my confidence and reassure myself that change is good. Georgia, my fairy godmother, whispering in my ear as I glided through her eccentric exhibition. She gave me permission to evolve. I needed a female artist to stir the pot, to push me in a new direction, because I (insanely) saw myself in her (work). From all the landscapes to cityscapes, bones to flowers, sunrise to sunset, her career fearlessly evolved over the span of her lifetime and it would not have been the same had she simply painted the same mountain over and over again.
Looking at the work of an artist over his or her lifetime puts everything in perspective. There is a lifelong devotion to their craft that is inspiring and the commitment to themselves as artists, to follow their heart and not the audience. They knew their vision was bigger than themselves.
They were/are not one dimensional and for some reason this woke me up: I am more than the abstract artist I am right now. Tomorrow I will plant new seeds, they'll take root and grow into next year. Next year I will be different.
Don't allow fear, assumptions, and judgment hinder your growth.
Embrace change, assume less.
Common sense, right?