As artists and creatives, most of us experience creative blocks, identity crises, and the nagging feeling of unworthiness. Knowing this could help you feel not alone, create empathy towards your fellow creative peers and it could even be the epiphany you have been searching for, however, it does not make it any easier – truly.
It takes vulnerability and the willingness to explore your inner and outer worlds. It also opens up a myriad of emotional baggage as well as can promote and help maintain strong emotional wellbeing. A double edge sword. There is a deep sense of joy one minute and the next an inner critic yelling that you are no good in the voice of Hannibal Lecter. There are moments of quiet confidence that are quickly shut down by the deep feeling of unworthiness. The experience of being a human being is not linear as no parts of life are, yet we still hope that perhaps it will be.
When darker times come and we are down on ourselves, we don’t give space to have these experiences without high expectations (Read: High Expectations Artists Put Upon Themselves) to always be happy, produce good work, and don’t ever fail.
Sadly society has placed a need for perfection, happiness, and feeling good at the top of the list for measuring if you are doing good in life. Those things are great, and I hope that you have those experiences from time to time but I also want to encourage you to feel into the hard times, the inner critic, and the worthlessness that you feel and let it move through you.
EXPLORING EMOTIONS IN ART
Every single human being on this planet feels the top core emotions (primary): joy, fear, sadness, love, Anger, Sadness, and Surprise. A good film to watch on this topic is Inside Out (2015). These 6 emotions can then be broken into hundreds of smaller chunks. (Diagram below). As human beings, we should encourage people to experience all ranges of emotions
Exploring all emotions, the good and the challenging will help you grow creatively. Asking questions and being curious about what you feel, rather than judging yourself is vastly important for creative growth and expansion as a creative person. Explore some inquiry vs judgement question below.
INQUIRY VS JUDGEMENT
When you get down on yourself.
Ask yourself what do you need, not what is wrong with me.
When you feel like a failure.
Ask yourself what constitutes failure? Would you tell someone else under the same conditions that they are a failure?
When you hate what you just created.
Ask yourself why don’t you like parts or all of the work and use those answers to create the world you want to create.
If you feel confused about who and what you are creating.
Ask yourself why do you love to create? Ask yourself why is does it feel good to make things.
RECENT PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Quarantine has been full of creative expression and experimentation. Its felt vulnerable, uncomfortable, and expansive. This is a random little owl painting that I created recently for my partner, M de Vena.
I’m sure many people think I’m going through an identity crisis, and I can confirm that is true. I often don’t feel good enough and feel like an imposter. I am no artist. I am a fake.
However, I have to always remind myself that we don’t challenge ourselves, experiment, and follow our creative passions where ever they take us even if into uncharted territory – then sadly we’ve been stuck in a box.
How boring with that be?