Lately I’ve been facing a form of anxiety that’s pretty new to me. It happens during the most unexpected of times, in the most beloved of places: at my computer.
It seems to take over during the moment I pick up my Wacom Pen and decide to begin painting. Usually it begins with heavy breathing, then the questions start to pile in my head, most of them related to if I enjoy the image or not. Or worst, if anyone else will enjoy it.
Since starting several months ago, I find myself furiously trying to fight against it. Breaks don’t seem to help, the usual walks don’t do anything and overall, I find myself constantly forcing through it–which is the worst of all ways to go about it.
I told my office mate, Alex Konstad, about it, asking what he thought it could be. And what he said truly put things into perspective: When was the last time you painted something only for yourself? Art that wasn’t meant to be sold as a property, or turned into an IP or used as a conceptual design. Something that was just for you.
He was right. The last time I had painted for myself was when I began Popped Culture, which I quickly turned into a little series. LMS, while always being there for me, had become a small burden as it was the only project I’ve been working on for the past seven or so years (next to my other book Redemption).
As I began to paint, I realized that I had taken advantage of the best aspect of art: painting for yourself. Sideshow Collectibles, the team behind those way-too-cool busts and statues of all our favorite pop-culture heroes, put out a video on one of their own artists, Amilcar Fong.
What he said really put things into perspective. Whenever you paint or draw, go back to the moment when you first learned how to draw. Back then, when you were young, you only created for yourself and didn’t care what others thought. And how it’s important to always hold onto that moment, to help inspire future work and endeavors.
It’ll take time, and won’t be overnight, but it’s a new process I’ve been applying to my work now. To chill, relax, and enjoy the piece for yourself.