Truth is, up to today, I still can’t call myself a “real artist.” Why?
I still get disappointed at my work.
Yes, I do creative work as a full time job. Yes, I get into working with colors, self-expression, and flowy-flowy stuff. Yes, I use my right brain most of the time. (Not unless, when calculating resizing photos in Photoshop). Yes, I had some creative awards here and there. And yes, creativity is my business, I create stuff, from a script to a full-live-action audio-video film masterpiece.
Wait, let me take that out – it’s not a masterpiece. Just an “output”.
Actually, that is the main reason why I’m sharing this out, and why I still get disappointed at my work –
I can only call myself as an artist, when finally I can say I made a masterpiece!
I remember last 2012 when I stumbled on one of the most really inspiring work for all beginner creatives and that is Ira Glass’ the “Gap”.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
And the key word there is the GAP.
I get disappointed at my videos and my photos because of that gap. And that is good practice!
It’s our good practice that Gail, my fiancee, would criticize my work. And of course, I would always defend myself. Which in turn, I’d just be disappointed because she’s right!
And since this “criticizing session” has been a practice already, I’ve mastered the art of “shelving my work”. It’s my mentality of not being so attached of my work, whether if its good or bad. After finishing it – I put it on the “shelf” but taking with me all the lessons I can from doing that project and moving on to the next project.
I fully believe that it is still a long curve until I get through that GAP. More shoots, more failures, more troubles, more clients, a bigger shelf obviously and more “I’ll do better next time.”
But the best part is to see some of that “taste” popping up time and again in my work. Ahhhh – those moments are precious. It may not the total masterpiece but there would be those mini-masterpieces in my “output”.
And for me, that’s more than enough. Deep inside, I know that I am not there yet, but also deep inside I can say I am getting there.
You may have the tools, the top of the line equipment, but at the end of the day what matters more is YOU. What YOU can do.
It’s a long way. But let’s do it. Let’s continue hustling and close in that gap.
Let me just say, with palms wide open towards you…
“May the force to keep hustlin’, keep grindin’ and getting your creative work done – be with you! Keep up the mini-masterpieces until it becomes one big masterpiece, and tell me when finally you have closed the GAP!”
To the Best Version of You,