Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone
We all do it. Get comfortable doing something a certain way and viewing change as the enemy. “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” I can’t speak for all artists, but in my view, that attitude is deadly for creativity. At least, it is for mine.
I will never consider myself as the master of any particular technique or style. To do so would be arrogant and pointless, in my opinion. There is always something to learn, if you pay attention and keep testing yourself. But there are styles and techniques I’m quite comfortable with, and I’m sure I will continue to work with them for years to come, but I’m definitely ready to step outside my comfort zone and try something new.
One of my biggest hurdles is the fear of screwing up. The idea that a piece will be ruined forever if I try something untested and it doesn’t come out EXACTLY the way I imagined it. Well, guess what? Art rarely comes out the way it was imagined, so it seems better for me to focus on what I want to express and not how much the final product resembles the picture in my head.
Jean Michel Basquiat
Around 1997 I happened upon the film, Basquiat, starring Jeffrey Wright and David Bowie. I had never heard of Basquiat, but Benicio del Toro had a small part in the film so I watched it. [I had a thing for Benicio at the time, I admit it]. The film inspired me to look more into Basquiat’s work, and I was hooked. I admire his expressiveness, the risks he took, and his blending of words with images. He didn’t seem obsessed with perfection, either. If he painted something on a canvas that he didn’t like later, he’d simply paint over it, not even in the same color as the background, he just covered it.
I refer to Basquiat, not because I want to paint just like him, but because I wish to be more fearless like him. As stated in my Patreon introductory video, I’ve embarked on a new series of portraits that engage in more social commentary than I’ve done before. The picture I have in my head of the piece I’ve started is a little Basquiat in nature, though now my biggest obstacle is that fear….that fear of ruining the picture if I don’t execute my ideas just right.
Perhaps it’s not a step outside the comfort zone I need to take, but a leap.