very often making art turns into an obsession with perfection. that’s the reason i created this very space - where i write half baked thoughts and share without hesitation. Steven Pressfield calls this obsession for perfection ‘the resistance’. but resistance is futile, which is why as an artist i chose to embrace the mess, instead of being reduced to a mess by resistance. that brings us to the question - how do we explore the difference between being a messy artist and creating messy art?
why not be a messy artist?
creating art requires a fine hand and keen eye. even messy art. especially messy art. but don’t be a messy artist. here's what happened to me when i became a messy artist. i didn’t care if i wrote everyday or not. i didn’t care for the process of creating. i didn’t care to revere the ritual that had helped me create. i didn’t worship the obsession that grabbed me by the balls and compelled me to create.
it wasn’t always like this. when i began writing, i wrote every morning soon as i woke up. i parked myself in a corner of my garden with my ipad, scribbling away without pause for hours. fueled by coffee, cheered by birds, ignored by cats and distracted by no one, i was riding the way of creativity. but a voice creeped in and said “this is too messy!”
bless the mess
the craft of writing still eluded me but the art of creating (messy at best) was driving me deeper inwards. i was in the throes of passion, enamored by my unseen muse. but the voice grew stronger. it said i must be heard. i must reach an audience. i must leave behind a legacy. i must embark on a mission to save the world.
and of course, i couldn’t showcase my messy writing to the world. i needed to learn to write better. writing courses revealed the importance of editing, something i’d never even thought of. even more important was to get others to edit my work, providing a wider perspective if not an expert one.
but this story didn’t end with me becoming a better writer and bamboozling the world with my command of language and communication.
stress made me a mess
with the focus now on perfecting my craft, i found myself getting better at writing. or so i thought. thought. i had begun thinking. something i’d never done before. creation had always been an act of no mind. i never knew what i was going to write about when i sat down to write.
enter the concept of thinking. thinking is stressful. thinking about the words i use. thinking whether my expression is good enough. thinking if i’m helping my intended audience grow. thinking if i’m serving my purpose in life. after all the fate of the entire world is in my hands. think about that for a moment!
i surely did and my stress increased, as did the resistance to create. i tried playing to making the process more playful. i invited more playmates to engage in creation together. i explored different forms of expression. yet i had lost touch with the messiness of play and no amount of gamification was going to help put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
why make a mess?
in my quest to impress upon others the importance of my expression, i’d lost the very spirit of play i sought to share with the world. ah the hubris!
so here i am again. back to the beginning. a return to the naïveté of artistic expression. that which would be labeled messy. i’m back to sharing my thoughts, my creations with you, without a care for whether you will learn from it or even like it. whether it will bring value to your existence or cause trauma.
but i’m not a messy artist! i take great care to exude my spirit in the only way i know - truly, madly and deeply. and that care is what makes me a damn fine artist. skill may be applauded in the present but the spirit beneath is what resonates in eternity. and so i will make continue to make messy art with no intention to be an artist. i’m just a puppy playing with the butterfly that is my thoughts.
but i also deeply desire to interact with you, the voyeurs. to hear what you have to say, whether you spread love or spew hate. for even hate is fuel to create 🔥 come, let’s make a mess together!