is it really a failure?

While I went to college to study art, I feel on some level I’m self-taught. Since much of my work is about exploration and experimentation, it’s hard to imagine my art developing without it. As I remember back on those days in class, I was not a student who was able to achieve incredible work from my assignments. It’s not that I wasn’t hard working, I just wasn’t able to create on demand. I felt at the time I needed to feel something for the assignment in order to succeed at it. I see now how my thinking had inhibited my creativity.

Fear of not succeeding or not being good enough, no doubt, was at the bottom of my inability to tackle a challenge out of my comfort zone. This is not just a student problem, but a lifelong difficulty that often holds mature and experienced artists back. I see this in artists whose work I respect, yet their work hasn’t changed in years. I was one of them.

It’s taken me all these years to see how working smart is not the smartest way to work. This sounds crazy, right? When a painting or collage has failed that’s when I’m most able to try anything in an effort to correct it.

My conclusion, therefore, is to work with a kind of recklessness and loose regard for rules. I’m most likely to have a breakthrough when I attack a project without thinking. It’s important to keep reminding myself how a failure is really an opportunity for discovery.