Last night I watched a documentary called Fame High. The movie followed the lives of four students who attended the prestigious (performing) arts high school, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). One of the students, a dancer named Grace Song, said near the end of the documentary about needing to commit to one’s art (and craft) everyday. This statement felt very profound to me because it encapsulated in a few words, much of what I’ve been trying to do over the past several years via my studio practice, but haven’t been able to articulate in such a succinct way.
Each morning I arrive to my studio very early, and begin my day. It’s quiet. I like the quietness. It allows me to center to myself so that I can move forward doing the tasks that I’ve assigned myself. It’s not always commercially related, but personal projects as well. I’ve wondered many times over the reasons why I continue to work on these self-initiated pieces instead of just taking the time off to do other things that I like such as going to the gym, exploring the city, and seeing friends; I mean, these personal projects of mine don’t result in any sort of tangible return, they don’t necessarily elevate my professional practice in an immediate way, there’s oftentimes no audience, nor do they inspire any kind of reward that would directly boost my career. For the most part, my personal projects allow me to manifest those ideas that I have floating around in my head; to give shape and form to my content. However, after watching the documentary I realized something new: that my decision to work, when there’s no work, to draw when nobody is telling me to draw, to sew when there is no reason for me to sew is because it encourages me to re-commit myself to my art and to my craft of making things.
To re-commit doesn’t mean that I’ve fallen out of love with what I’ve done and need to proclaim my reconnection to it, rather re-committing simply means that I continue to love what I do, and through this love helps me to see the importance and neccessity of the work (which is oftentimes repetitive in nature) and the discipline that is required if I want to continue to make this (art) a long and fruitful part of life. I know how easily it can be to become lazy and bored of drawing. I know how easy it can be to feel like giving up, to find excuses to see the worthlessness in wanting to create something that will undoubtedly be judged by others (for better or for worse); and if it’s for the worse, then why bother? I understand how challenging it can be to stay motivated. But I realize that going into my studio each day, and leaving each night is a form of the commitment that I’ve made to the art that I create. I tell myself all the time, that talent can fade; that this talent can leave me if I refuse to nourish it – the creative process that I experience everyday is really a creative ritual of commitment that I choose to practice every time I step inside my studio.