“I Haven’t Made Art In A While”: Getting Your Art Groove Back
by Daric Gill
Say no more. I’ve got your number. Here’s some help. In this article you’ll find a few remedies to help you get back into the groove.
Starting Off Right
Almost every time an artist tells me that they haven’t made work in a long time, there’s a hint of shame, comparison, and guilt in their voice. Typically, these traits do nothing but grow the lack of energy towards artistic efforts. Start your new beginning right by putting those feelings behind you.
Do = Art
Let’s be real for a second: The biggest everyday problem most artists face is simply getting in the studio to make art. Unlike a regular J-O-B, there’s no clock-in and out times. Small things like mood, the internet, family, friends, and general procrastination can wreck the momentum before it starts. Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, new media, or performance artist — Art has to be made to exist.
Simply put, just get out there and make something. There’s a liberation that comes when one finally blows through that stillness barrier. It takes a lot of momentum to initially move that idea boulder, but once moving it gets far easier to keep it rolling. At some point, the potential energy needs to be released into kinetic energy.
Ditch The Distractions
Take an honest look at your distractions. If you’re a chronic phone, email, and social media checker, maybe it’s time to download a time-managing app that blocks your social media for designated ‘art time’. Or simply put it to sleep, dock it on the charger, or leave it in another room… whatever works.
There are no rules here. Doodle or sketch, tape things into a sketchbook, or even write out ideas. These little blocks of idea-making can go a long way toward when you have more time. Unlike adding more of other people’s ideas in an “Inspirations” folder online, self-driven idea-making helps exercise those creative muscles that rely on internal dialogues.
Make Time To Make You
Family is and should be a priority. And a healthy social life is important too. However, so is your mental and emotional health. Studies show that people who regularly exercise their creativity have a decrease in stress, negative emotions, and a major increase in overall well-being. You could very easily be a better parent just by allowing yourself the permission to take back some self-art time. Maybe involve your family in the creativity and slowly build it into a regular family evening. This could be anything from the art making itself or using that time to visit your local arts establishments.
Many artists lose momentum by overthinking an idea until it’s lost steam or they have a hard time wrapping their mind around the logistical stages. Both are quite common. It’s easy to choke on an idea if it has sat too long in the brain without existing in real life. Override this tendency by working out these trouble areas in real life tests or sketches. Some things just can’t be figured out unless you physically see them.
Arguably the king of productivity-killers for most artists. Imagine the advice that you’d give to a friend who was getting down on themselves. When my friend starts cutting down their achievements, I like to say “Hey, don’t make fun of my friend.”, which reminds them that they are someone’s special friend too. Why not implement that same care for yourself?
Money can be a real concern. But, there is a beautifully simple solution. Think like a child. Use your imagination and create with what you have. Children don’t need an actual space ship to fly around, they use a box and a stick and make due. Become innovative with the materials and skills that you do have.
Honestly assess your skill and comfort level–and go one step further. If the largest thing you’ve ever made is 2 ft wide, maybe that 12 ft size is a bit out of your range. This doesn’t mean you can’t try doing it, it just means that it’s feasible that you may feel drowned by its scale at some point.
Put a different way, train first. If you don’t run a mile a day…. don’t assume you can run a marathon without risk. View this as a positive self-stretching time.