A WORK OF HEART
This crumpled string of words, colour and sky is a work of heart. A culmination of ideas and inspiration that have been swirling in my head, and it is such a wonderful feeling to have painted them into existence.
Read on if you want a little bit of an insight into my process and ideas behind the final pieces.
As with every new illustration all it takes is a flicker of inspiration to set my mind off. However this flicker of words and images came at a time where I wasn't feeling particularly motivated or creative. You see I had let my self come down with a case of "Comparisonitis". The seriously infectious condition which makes you compare yourself to others and whose symptoms can include; a feeling of inadequacy, artist block, tears and even tantrums.
Hard to avoid and hard to cure "Comparisonitis" is something I think all of us, especially creatives, experience and is easy to get when scrolling through your social feed. It is pretty universally acknowledged now that social media can make it seem as if everybody is infinitely more talented /successful /beautiful /happy /hardworking than you are. So having a business that requires me to spend a signicicant chunk of time on Instagram/Facebook etc is both a blessing and a curse. It both lifts me up and throws me down.
But dealing with comparison and a fear of failure or rejection makes creative expression darn difficult and because my job is to be creative this makes life double darn difficult and something that I can't sit and wallow in.
So I switched off for a little bit, spoke to friends, especially those in the industry who could commiserate, spent time with my family and husband and focused on all the good things (like the night sky, memories of Paris, flowers and love)
Then one night I flipped my thinking on it's head and really asked "why" and what was honestly the worst thing that could happen if I wasn't the most spectacularly brilliant person in the room. And all of a sudden it seemed so ridiculous to be comparing myself to strangers on the internet, to be waiting for a perfect moment or or perfect idea, to have stopped myself from doing something just because I thought it might have been "done" before. James Bay said it best guys: "why don't you be you, and I'll be me".
So recently I gave myself some time off from client work, a perk of being your own boss, and started documenting ideas I'd had over the last few months, but that I'd dismissed for one reason or another. Then I let go of perfect. I embraced all the things I usually worry about in my work and let myself just play and create with no motives or pressure (cue the Oprah ah-hah moment music)
I crushed, ripped and tore holes, I left pencil marks and drew lines that weren't straight (OCD folks I do apologise) I just put the contents of my head and heart on to $2 printer paper and it felt so cathartic that I may be tempted to crush all future illustrations into balls just to see what it looks like.
The finished pieces are so indicative of the passion and inspiration that evolved from letting go and just creating. That even if no one else quite gets what I'm on about or doesn't see their beauty, I look at them and love them for how imperfect they are.
PS If you find you are hit with your own case of "Comparisonitis", some cures I can suggest include switching off that screen, breathing in some fresh air and basking in sunshine, talking to awesome people about genuine things and seeking inspiration from books, magazines and old movies or nature.
(side note: brunch and a good Netflix session also help)
Let me know your thoughts on this series or tips for finding inspiration, away from the screen, in the comments below.
**UPDATE: poster prints are now available from this series