Yes it’s been 10 years
Hello beautiful people!
Last month, July 2019 was quite the month! I’ve celebrated 10 years worth of artmaking, went to my first artist residency in Cuba and celebrated another year of life. I have made a milestone as an artist and looking forward to sharing the details.
Even when you have acquired 10 years of experience, that does not always make you a master, rather it shows how much more I have to learn. In this blog post, I will share the 4 things necessary to persevere and continuing making art that not only pleases people but ultimately yourself.
You have to be consistent in order to create art, and I mean having a routine. For myself, in the beginning of my serial work series for Men in Authority, I set deadline for each medium I was using for that cycle. For example, 2-3 months for my acrylic canvases, 3 months for my wood burnt drawings on wood panels and 3 months for 11 large works of cloths stitched together to make an image. I completed 33 works for a period of 9 months, making it a nice whole body of work.
Below are the works of one title completed in 3 different ways from the Men in Authority series of Hands up.
Sometimes as an artist, you have to see what mediums work well with you, either by your personality or strategy of getting things done. I’d worked with oil paints in my undergraduate art career, however they were a challenge for me because it did not help me to be consistent and because they omit strong fumes, I cannot use them in my Brooklyn apartment or I’d end up with some sort of respiratory illness. Which is not happening! So with that, I ventured into using acrylic paints since they are easy to use and I can clean my space easily without leaving a mess. Unless you don’t mind a messy palette.
I enjoyed using oil pastels as well for later works, such as S.E.E.D.S J1778 (2016), in which was my largest serial work to date, which was 40 pieces in total. However, it felt too rudimentary for me, because they are technically crayons. Yet, I am pleased with the work that came out and believe it is one of my best works in this 7 year time frame. I’ve completed S.E.E.D.S J1778 with a 2 month deadline, August 1-September 30 2016.
Even though it’s been ten years since I’ve consistently created and explored work, I’ve had patience in my work every step of the way. No matter how advanced you are in your style of work, being pleased with the end result is important. Being patient will eventually help you become confident, because you do it over and over again to get the result you want.
The important key is that you have to be pleased with the work. If you are not pleased with the work then, 10 years later it would not change. Seriously. I’ve made work that I was so proud of my execution at that time and years later, I still see the excellence derived from that work. It is still a piece that can be marked for sale. On the other hand, I’ve made work just to complete a deadline and did not like it then, but thought with time I would grow to like it. Ten years later, I still question its excecution and from that point, I will recycle its purpose and make it into another work of art that I’m pleased with and can be placed for sale.
So yes there’s a lot of patience involved creating over 500 works of art in a ten year period. However, not everything is immediately for sale. Throughout this process, you will always go through the ugly and ugly is needed in order to get to your best. This growth is essential which should be the final stage, because you are always learning and growing as an artist.
You got to grow! If you are living and breathing, you got to grow in the discipline you got a passion for. You don’t know everything. I’ve been growing steadily over the past 8 years, but these last 2 years, I’ve shot up 12 feet! Growth is stage of learning and applying what I’ve learned.
Seriously! Over my stay at my artist Residency in Cuba, I’ve borrowed some books from my local library to learn more the applicability of Acrylic paints. I’ve been using Acrylic paints for years and by reading a few books, I’ve learned more about my primary medium that I knew previously and though there are cons, there were so many pros I did not stop to recognize. For example, the usage of layers are great with Acrylic paint. Since they dry so fast, you can created a lot of images ultilizing different colors to express just about near infinitum! Just reading those books helped me see the vast possibilities of Acrylic paint.
In addition, I’ve finally found a mentor program for artists such as myself that speaks to the gift I received from a spiritual standpoint. Speaking with artists that share the same faith as myself helps when I’m posting something that I don’t feel the need to explain myself as well as to get constructive criticism of developing work in a supportive environment. Matt Tommey is my mentor, if you are interested in checking him out, you can also subscribe to his free podcast “Created to Thrive” or get one of his books on Amazon, Created to Thrive being his most recent book. It’s the first in finding your role as an artist in Christ and with no limits in the kingdom of God.
My final 2 cents
It’s been a pleasure riding on this journey of 10 years. After 10 years, I still consider myself an emerging artist mainly because I got the click of being a master for over a year now. It helps being in an artist mentor program, that’s for sure.
As a fellow artist, I recommend taking risks in being consistent , exploring, patience and growth. Overall, with my spiritual foundation, I will always have a fresh outlook on art because I’m just the paintbrush , God uses me to paint the work you see. Thanks for coming with me on this journey and look forward to ten more years! I wonder what work I will come up with then. You got to stay on the wagon to find out! Until then, Shalom!
For the love of God and art!
Thru His vessel JB