Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memories Manifest

Memories Manifest sash
photo negatives, packing tape

I'm looking forward to the reception tomorrow.  I even made this sash out of film negatives to relate to my Memories lamp.  :)

Contemporary Women Artists XVI: Longevity
St. Louis Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art
St. Louis University
Museum of Art
3663 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO
Aug. - Oct. 2012
Reception: Friday, Aug. 24, 7 - 9 PM

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Success and Failure

As I'd mentioned before, I struggle with perfectionism.  So I in turn also struggle with failure, especially feeling like I'm not doing enough or pushing myself or getting anywhere.  Although that can create momentum to try harder, it can also easily become paralyzing and debilitating, and I try not to live in fear of it or let it rule me.  It has been especially hard for me celebrating my 10-year art anniversary because I had hoped that I would have achieved more.  But I am coming to accept where I am and learning to use that as fuel to try for bigger things while recognizing other accomplishments.  Here are some observations I would like to share that help me.

Success is varied and comes in many forms.
Give yourself credit where credit is due.  Even the little things count, and they add up to a lot more than you think.  Just because you're not relentlessly pursuing your goals doesn't mean that you're failing.  You may be succeeding in other ways or in other aspects of your life, and in the process you may actually be moving closer to your goals in ways that you aren't even aware of.

Success and failure are not the only ends.
Accomplishment is not strictly black vs. white, win or lose.  There are many shades of gray between the two and it's often an ebb and flow.  Too sharp a focus can limit your vision and overdirect your attention so that you can't see the whole picture.  Hyperfocusing on success can cause failings in other ways, and can limit your responses so that you don't take opportunities that could lead to future successes. 

Revel in what you have achieved rather than focusing your attention on what you haven't.
It is good to want and strive for more, but try not to exclusively focus on that.  Let yourself reap the rewards of what you have accomplished to get you to where you are.  Revel in the here and now rather than worrying about where you are going or what you haven't yet done .  If you keep looking forward you'll find your path, but don't do so at the expense of the present.

Don't measure yourself by others' successes.
If someone else is achieving, then be glad for them and celebrate in their joy, but don't interpret that to mean that you aren't doing enough, raise the bar on your own success, or deem yourself a failure for not being where they are.  Success often comes at a price and you don't know the behind-the-scenes costs that were weighed and paid beforehand.  You don't know about the sleepless nights, the isolation, the failed attempts, the trials and tribulations, putting loved ones and one's own needs on hold...  You haven't walked that mile in their shoes so don't hold yourself accountable for not being where those shoes led them.

Don't hold yourself to a strict timeline.
Goals are good because they can be great motivation, but they can also be a harsh slap in the face.  Circumstances don't always make ends meet in the time desired, but that doesn't mean you should give up on your dreams.  Keep pursuing your goals, revel in the journey, and give it due time.  It's not always about the outcome; the process of getting there is often equally as important, if not more so.

Don't put yourself down or put off your dreams for fear of failure or rejection.
If you don't reach for the stars you'll never realize what you're capable of.  Failures are good opportunities for growth & learning and can inform later success.  Don't allow yourself to be ruled by fear of failing or rejection because that is a self-fulfilling prophesy - if you never try then you're guaranteed never to get what you want.  You deserve to give yourself that chance.

Allow your goals to adapt and change.
As you come closer to realizing your goals you may come to understand that they aren't everything they were cracked up to be.  The costs may start outweighing the benefits.  Be flexible and allow yourself to pursue other dreams and reformulate your goals to better suit where you have been, are going, and want to be.  We are all constantly evolving, so try to be fluid and adapt.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August EBay Listings & Upcoming Shows

Although I haven't posted much about it here recently, my 10-year art anniversary is still going strong, and August brings some unique eBay listings: my cheesecloth bundles from my People I Have Known, People I Have Been installation.

This piece has been included in several of my Forgotten series shows in various formats and is pictured here at the Second Reading Book Shop in conjunction with the Artfully Alton beautification project.  These bundles are like mystery grab bags and each contain various found objects representing myself or someone I have known at various points throughout my life.

You can learn more at my anniversary blog or eBay store here:
10-year anniversary blog
EBay store

I am also participating in the upcoming WCA-STL Contemporary Women Artists show with my Memories lamp.

Contemporary Women Artists XVI: Longevity
St. Louis Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art
St. Louis University
Museum of Art
3663 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO
Aug. - Oct. 2012
Reception: Friday, Aug. 24, 7 - 9 PM

And be sure to note my two big solo shows coming up.  These shows will each celebrate different aspects of my work in conjunction with my 10-year art anniversary.

Plein Air Daydreaming
Third Degree Glass Factory
5200 Delmar, St. Louis, MO
Sept. - Oct. 2012
This show features a large assortment of plein air paintings including several that have never before been shown and will open with a reception in conjunction with the Third Friday festivities at Third Degree Glass on September 21.  A fun time for all!

LAST CHANCE! One Night Only!
solo 10-year art anniversary retrospective
Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts
3151 Cherokee St., St. Louis, MO
Dec. 7, 2012
This one-night event is the culmination of my 10-year art anniversary celebration and will feature a retrospective show of excerpts from the last ten years of my art career in a one-time only performance art piece questioning legacy.  All kinds of surprises are in store during this truly one-night-only, last chance event, so you'll want to be sure not to miss it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


This is more a reminder to myself than anything.  Yesterday I saw a sign at my auto service department that read, "Anything less than excellent is a zero."  It acted as a reminder of how perfectionism can be so excrutiatingly limiting and harmful.  How, despite having a tiered system, only a perfect score is valued and all else is considered and treated as a failure.  It's all or nothing, win or lose... without exploring the realities in-between it becomes so much harder to just be, to just experience the moment.

I am guilty of being hypercritical of myself and tend to be overly harsh on myself for things I wouldn't judge other people for.  It's an unfortunate self-imposed cycle of double-standards that is very difficult to challenge as it has become so ingrained and manifests in every aspect of my life.  I get bent out of shape when my own artwork doesn't turn out as I would like, and over the course of my life I have destroyed much of it for deviating from my vision.

But truly it is our imperfections, differences, and deviations that make us interesting, that make us unique as individuals and not just automatons.  If the world were really 100% "perfect" it would be a pretty boring place.  I recognize this and am willing to accept it in others and am drawn to artworks in which the artist has made some sort of mistake or error, typically something that they aren't happy with.  Partly because I like to see that element of the human touch in things, it makes them more real to me.  I just need to learn to accept it in myself as well.