by Emi Nakamura
Today I came across a website that by chance (or by synchronicity, as I prefer to call it) helped me discover the answer to an Artist struggle I’ve been struggling with for years––and by years I mean roughly since high school when I became “too busy” and had no time for art anymore. For the last 4 years, people who really know me can justify the things I complain about most as: 1) Not having time for art outside of my art classes, 2) Not feeling like an Artist anymore because I don’t have time for art, and 3) Never finishing the artworks I start because other priorities quickly get in the way. Perhaps these hopeless excuses I make about not having time wouldn’t be such a big deal if I didn’t have the tendency to constantly try and make a statement about how passionate I am about art (and not just passionate, but more passionate than you). At times I wonder if all I am is fake; I wonder if all I am really seeking is the label, “Artist”, in hopes of being a someone rather than a nobody in this world; I wonder, why can’t I just make time and cut the excuses––simply make the effort to make time for art! After all, lack of time is everyone’s struggle and those who are able to invent time, per se, are likely to achieve their dreams. Why do I fail myself in making time for my passion? Why have I produced such little work in the past 4 years when I know I could have produced so many more? In my mind I am not lazy.
After coming across a certain website, and after reading Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, I realized something shocking about the kind of Artist I have become: a left-brained, rational, perfectionist. A left-brained Artist in the way I approach my artwork––a left-brained Artist; how’s that for irony and personal shame? What do I mean by left-brained Artist? I realized I have lost most of the habits that are the epitome and the essence of artistic creative growth. It’s the same as losing one’s inner child: the abilities to play, be spontaneous, explore, make mistakes, not think, make more mistakes, and play some more. After my 10th grade year, when I actually produced the best artworks in my ever so young life, I became so focused on my technical skills as an Artist rather than on my creative skills.
Ultimately, this is what has come of me:
- I seem to be incapable of keeping a sketchbook, or simply making a sketch or doodle (for crying out loud!). Every piece of art I do has to be a “fully developed ‘masterpiece’ on fine-quality drawing paper”. My left-brain Artist: “think, draw, think draw”; to display my drawing skills, I must create a fully developed, gallery-ready masterpiece; it’s either that or I don’t draw at all, because I’m afraid of making art that doesn’t show my “real skills”.
- I am not creative. I have faced this fact a while ago: I’m an Artist but not a creative one. When I draw a portrait, I can make it amazingly realistic, but the portrait is nothing beyond someone’s face on paper. I can’t draw a thing from memory––I can’t illustrate or draw cartoons; everything I do must be referenced from a photograph or visual of some sort. I can’t do what I did in middle school––simply draw whatever comes to mind; no, no––never.
The likely solution:
Is simple, yet so difficult. Most casually put, I need to dump the need for perfection 24/7 and draw aimlessly. Just riff. Draw like a kid again. Be imaginative. Don’t use references. Make crappy art. Draw in a sketchbook and actually make it a sketch. Be unconcerned with rules. I would have to go back to basics and reinvent myself to “unblock” my left-brained perfection-craving Artist.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the whole process sounds scary and daunting. Making fun, simple, random art shouldn’t be daunting to anyone, and that’s what scares me even more. Luckily, I stumbled upon this inspiring website today: drawanyway.com. According to their about us section,
“It’s about doodles, sketches, work you might never show anyone else. It’s about seeing the value in pictures that have been dashed off, and about getting confident in art so that it becomes a pleasure and not something daunting.
It’s for everyone, those who believe they can draw, and those who believe they can’t, but want to. Those who have no time to draw. Those who have plenty of time but no idea where to start.
Ach, basically, it’s all about making time for art, and enjoying art. And that’s it."
And that is exactly what I need to do. Not that I’ll ever stop making “masterpieces” or putting as much detail and effort as I can in my art, but going back to basics and not being afraid to make mistakes is essential to my improvement as a (right-brained) Artist. If I can reintroduce the creativity and spontaneousness in my art, then I’m excited to see where I’ll be in a year, 5 years, 10 years; I’ll produce more artworks than I ever have, and have more time for it than I ever have.
I’m going to make a goal for myself right now: to draw aimlessly in a sketchbook one again as I did when I was 11 and 12, and rid myself of the notion of perfection when it comes to sketching. Then, I will share my sketches with you on this website and watch myself grow in creativity. Might as well give it a try. Oh and one last thing. I created this website not just for displaying my best work, but to watch myself grow personally as an Artist––and I ultimately want this site to be about YOU, the viewer, rather than just my artwork. I wouldn’t have bought the domain, inspiremi.com otherwise. What I want can’t be made clearer.