making your creative mark

I finished reading a book today, which sounds way more productive than it was, because i was on the last chapter. It’s an easy read but i read it very slowly, not out of laziness but quite the opposite: practice and process, application and integration. Making Your Creative Mark: Nine Keys To Achieving Your Artistic Goals by Eric Maisel. The book is written sort of like a workbook, asking questions after each chapter, starting at the most basic and internal: the mind key, the confidence key, passion key. Then more philosophical and emotional pursuits like the freedom key, the stress key, the empathy key. The last few relate to the larger global community, the relationship key, the identity key and lastly, the societal key.

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Each chapter, or key, has lists of tips, tons of insight and plenty of example scenarios from the author’s experiences as a creative coach. Books like this help me a lot because even if the artist mentioned is not the same type of artist, the same struggles and principles apply and can save time on energy by cutting down on unproductive patterns and instead trying out alternative methods in producing more or at least feeling better about yourself when you’re not, from people who deal with the same lifestyle and profession more or less.

I spent the most time on the last couple of chapters, the identity key and the societal key. These keys explored and suggested a great deal of self-awareness and consideration for the world you live in and communities you occupy. very year-of-the-dog type themes. the identity key calls into question which aspects of ourselves are hardwired into us, versus what characteristics we inherit from happenstance or affinity. This chapter emphasizes “artist” as an identity, suggests to ask yourself questions and do things that this artist would do, creating opportunities for it and checking in with its development. The chapter before it was the relationship key, which covered networking and ethical business practices and the chapter after it is the societal key, which explores the role of the artist, and different types of artists, providing examples like: the classical, medieval, renaissance, court, society, revolutionary, bohemian, modern, contemporary global, mass-market, small-business, postmodern, etc. all of these artist stereotypes and their associated values and principles that shape their purpose and art operations.

these last two chapters asked who are you, beyond being an artist, beyond making art, what do you believe in, who is your art for, who or what does it represent? although digesting these big questions aren’t necessary to create, i do think that pondering these things absolutely can improve art, make the relationship between the creation, creator and audience smoother and the process more purposeful.

So beyond artist, who am I? What do I do? The words that applied to me were: small-business owner. a visual and lifestyle brand. although the internet made these things corny: a witch and a healer. a writer and sortapoet. a designer. a connector who knows much and many. a craftswoman. an innovator. a risk-taker. a foreseer and soothsayer.

the last chapter said to check in with these aspects of yourself daily, do to things that express these roles. it also had a segment about alienation and methods of going about it. many artists exist in excessive solitude or on the fringes of society but that doesn’t mean the experience should be insufferable or involuntary. i still have days where i get burnt out on social interaction, i get a healthy balance.

i strained my calf muscle last week so i’ve been limpingaround the city and now rolling around in an office chair inside. cleaned and organized supplies with dale yesterday, did three tattoo drawings and got started on the forth. still have two other projects to finish. made candles today, handled some paperwork. currently in the process of getting business license. so far it’s like i’ve been tattooing out of my house but now thanks to a lifeless hater i have the impetus to level up.

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