I have been struggling to find a way to write my column here this week, after recent events have left me more than a little disappointed. No matter how this week is going for you, we certainly all know what it’s like to feel disappointment and fear and depression and rage. I could easily spend this column trying to work through how all the work I do both as a professional Art Director and all the work I do in my “free” time, on Drawn + Drafted, Dear AD, and Art Business Bootcamp, centers on building empathy, compromise and negotiation, but seeing people tear each other apart over the last few weeks makes me feel like it’s useless and unwanted… but hey, that’s what I pay a therapist for.
I could also, somehow (with the help of a great deal of bourbon), try to summon my optimistic side and remind everyone that struggle, as history has shown us, is great for art. (see: Reganism/Punk Rock, Fascism in Spain/Guernica)
Disappointment, depression, anger, rage, sadness, and fear affects everyone’s ability to work, but it especially affects artists. I think we’ve all used the excuse that we’re not in the mood to art. Unless you are a stronger and more determined artist than I’ll ever be. I’m sure some bigger souls among us are already using their disappointment and rage to fuel new pieces and I applaud them. The rest of us are having trouble pulling ourselves together.
So I am posting here the only thing that we need to focus on right now. Drag yourself to your canvas, your computer, your cintiq, your crayon, whatever you’ve got handy… and Make Something.
If you can drown yourself in a deadline or commission, great. If not, give yourself a little break and freedom to make something for yourself. I think we all need to make something beautiful to prove we can. Or we might need to make something ugly to get it out of our system. Whatever gets you making again. Just start.
Thanks Neil Gaiman and Zen Pencils, I really needed that right now.