Monday, January 16, 2017

DEFINING SUCCESS: COOKIE CUTTER STYLE...


(Studio 2017...while its clean, which is not often but I have to tape a class intro in there and I thought it needed it.  Lots of ready to use collage background substrates)

“I so admire artists who have one sole focus or medium they work in, it takes far less supplies and space than my mixed media method of madness.”  This was my thought after the latest round of trying to fit what amounts to a square peg (my supplies) into a round hole (small space).  But, I DID IT! , success!  My defining success was paring down to not a lot of anything but a little bit of everything for my mixed media needs and (the hard part) having a home for it all.
(Bead and Embellishment Storage)

Last spring I was in touch with a very successful well known artist who is also mentors other artists.  After emails, phone conversations, and a visit to my social media sites and blog the advice was that in order to be a success I would have to dial it back and focus on one thing.
(Rubber Stamps, Hand Dyed Ribbons, Paints,Paper, Buttons, Tools, Jewelry Embellishments, Etc.  My "sink" is a new addition to the studio, love it!)

 I could not have a messy mixed media blog that had posts of writing, art, tutorials, nature photography, travel, and bits of randomness.   I needed not one but two Facebook accounts, one personal and one professional, and for heaven’s sakes quit posting all those quirky bits of travel logs with tons of photos no one has time to look at much less read.  Why am I not tweeting on Twitter?  Step it up on Instagram!   More selfies less nature!  What about Vimeo and YouTube, where are my channels?  My Pinterest  page is weak and my blog needed a modernized design.  Why did I not have an official artist website?  My bio is not sophisticated enough. It’s been too long since I had listed art for sale on Etsy.   It all needs to be about the art but, I MUST pick ONE thing to focus on be it book arts, art journaling, jewelry, stitch, collage, or painting, just pick ONE and focus, then I would be on the road to success.
(My desk where I make jewelry, sketch, art journal, or layout designs)

To say I was a little taken aback is an understatement.  At first I was downright offended.  Then I was overwhelmed and feeling really insecure.  Should I delete everything and start all over?  Did I want to?  So I decided to break down the advice I was given. I am not much into social media, I guess it’s because it was not a part of my generation growing up, it’s something I have had to learn and adapt to but on my terms.
(My metalsmithing and glass work table just behind the bead and embellishment storage shelf)

I don’t want to be behind a computer or phone screen all the time.  I don’t feel the need for constant communication.  I like my quite moments in nature where I can hear myself think while focusing my camera lens on the majesty of beauty that nature has to offer.  That is art to me, the art of silence and presence of savoring a moment.   I don’t need constant contact with people; I like silence and maybe that comes from being an only child who spent a lot of time alone.
(Sewing Storage, (my daughter gifted me all those amazing boxes and the bakers rack was just purchased this weekend, still getting that area set up) The Tower of Terror paper hoard, lots of Ephemera and goodies!)

 Soooo, one blog, one Facebook account, Pinterest pins are for me and my inspiration or ideas, I am doing better at Instagram, I am still not tweeting, taking selfies, or doing video so I can be “discovered”.  I don’t yet have an official artist website but someday I will.  So I give away more art than I sell, that’s my choice.  My bio is me to a sweet-T, no need to change it.  Nature is my main inspiration in art and my travels are a part of that process, those posts and pics will stay.  As for focus on one medium or type of art, well I am just not a cookie cutter kind of girl.
(This is my main work space where I glue and goo and mess and gob and paint.  Its also where I set up to film, you can see the backdrop on the table and extra lighting and peek of the tripod.)

Cookie cutter neighborhoods are sad to me (no offense intended if you happen to live in one please, I grew up in one) that just does not fit me.  I love quirky old neighborhoods, run down old houses, even better something that was never intended to be a home but has been converted into one; they all have individuality and personality.  I saw the advice I was given for just what it was, success cookie cutter style, not intended to harm or alarm but a blueprint of the steps of success this particular artist took to get where they are today.  It’s that square peg in a round hole thing again; it just does not fit me.
(Book storage under the table in vintage colorful crates)

I can’t be me and not create a variety of art just as much as I can’t be a vanilla flavored cookie cut out over and over and over again with the same round shape cookie cutter producing the same type of thing repeatedly.  I am more of spice cookie, a variety of flavors to my mixed media.  I would be cut out as a Gingerbread man who is holding a heart shaped cookie(still going to share my heart and art) and chasing a star shaped cookie (while chasing my artful dreams), running as fast as I can, delighting in my adventures along the way.  Maybe my way is reckless and foolish as the Gingerbread man in the storybook and I will get gobbled up and lost in the fray but at least I will have stayed true to myself.

That in large part explains my long absence from this blog.  I lost myself in thinking I needed to adapt to a cookie cutter way set by someone else and it completely threw me off track.   I am back to mixing my media, varying my projects, and making happy spicy messes as more than one shaped cookie and my recipe for success suits me just fine! 

14 comments:

Pamela Healy said...

You go girl! Spice girl that is ... 😋

Sandy said...

I guess I would have to be Clumsy Spice right?

Bucket Chick said...

Nice!!! I'm a bit jealous...but in a good way. Enjoy...Create...Be...

jeanniemc said...

Just be you--creative, beautiful & talented...

Createology said...

Sandy I am totally understanding what you have been through with "advice" and being a "cookie cutter" artist. I experienced very similar advice years ago. I thought long and hard and decided I just have to be me. I make things and I give them away because it makes my heart happy. I will never be successful in the ways of fame and money...but that is not who I am. I love who you are and what you share and the wonderful things you create. Be who you are and rejoice in Creative Bliss. May you have a Wonderful 2017 and be the happiest artist ever.

Lady Locust said...

Yeah! for spicy messes:) You do your thing! It's beautiful. Also, perhaps your informant has a different definition of success than you do??? (usually based solely on $$$) Your studio looks like a secret garden of creativity, I love love love your beads & bobbles storage, and your sink, and . . . weeeellll, you get the idea.
Regardless, please just be you ~ you are amazing at it.

susan hemann said...

i cannot tell you how much i have been struggling with the same issues!!! i have been trying desperately to pair down, going through everything so i don't feel so overwelmed by my own creativity! i get so depressed by the should...
sometimes i just want to quit it all

Chris Flynn said...

Dearest Sandy... so, there are a bunch, probably a LOT!, of us scattered in what we do. I call myself a 'dilettante'... I love that word! I think it means to be good at a number of things, 'master' of none. Is that what a successful artist is? cookie cutter?

Sweet one, you have amazing talent, AND, you're a fabulous writer. Do what you love! Your studio work space looks lovely! We had so much rain out here in California, I didn't realize I had a leak in my studio... so much got silently soaked, now mildewed! It's cozier here in the house (really a 100 year old cabin in the woods).

Sweet Blessings to you
Chris Flynn

Marilyn Podoll said...

Please don't change. I love your studio. The windows are amazing. So jealous.

suziqu's thread works said...

Dear Sandy what a thought provoking post! It could have been written for me! I share your thoughts and dilemas so much. Pairing down is essential for focus but it is not easy when you have so many skills in so many different media but sometimes it takes forever to know what the most important focus is and, at the same time, we always need to spread our wings so when I do that I try to keep my focus incorporating these new learned skills if that makes sense!
Keep being true to yourself! We love what you create and feel blessed that you want to share it with us.
You've done an amazing job in pairing down your supplies in your beautiful smaller new space. Enjoy your artistic life my friend!
Hugs,
Suzy

Magpie's Mumblings said...

That person obviously thought success should be defined as being what works for them and didn't give any thought to what would work for YOU. Thank goodness we are not all the same because life would be terribly boring and oh so predictable. Good for you for rising above that so-called 'advice' and doing what's best for you. Your creative space is totally beyond enviable and I can see your inspiration at every turn. Good for you - keep making those happy spicy messes and share them with us!

Vee said...

It would pay me to drop in more often and then I'd know things! I can not imagine being told that everything I was doing was wrong...glad that you got it sorted out and that you will be you yourself. Your studio is a thing of beauty...

Chris Flynn said...

Hello again... Thought about you in the middle of the night and had another idea/comment. I don't think you need a 'professional website'.... your blog is beautiful, informative, very well put together, and easy to navigate. What I did for myself was get a 'GoDaddy' website: chrisflynnsart.com. then I directed all traffic directly to my blog. It wasn't very expensive, didn't have to pay a web designer, and was pretty easy to do.
Just a thought.
Sweet blessings, Chris

Isabel Gonzalez said...

Wow Sandy, I love your post. You are an explosion of poetic art. Don't change a thing. You are so inspiring. I love your studio. God bless you always my friend.

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