Last Summer when boyfriend and I were watching episodes of PBS documentary art21 (Art in 21st century) I was almost shocked by art of Vija Clemins who works over a year on one single tiny painting of space. “What?!“, I screamed, “That’s crazy! What a waste of time!” I simply couldn’t understand how could someone spend a year of her life emerged into a single piece of art, one which in my layman opinion didn’t demand much skill and it certainly doesn’t display flashy, glamorous or appealing results.
Vija Clemins, oil on canvas, image source
“How can this woman afford to take SO MUCH time to work on just one painting?” I wondered.
And for someone, like me, who’s been posting work online ever since I started producing it and for someone who considers herself a blogger, this wasn’t an unusual reaction. In internet terms, two weeks is a lot of time, a month old blog post is ancient history and, generally speaking, information and contents are flowing so fast across the www it gets hard to follow them.
For a blogger, or an artist who promotes her work primarily online time is very important and precious. If you don’t post regularly, it’s hard to stay relevant in online world. And you simply can’t afford to spend weeks, months or hardly a year working on one single piece of art so it’s not unusual to make compromises and sacrifice quality of your work it in order to produce faster.
But, the truth is time plays a crucial role in creative process. Creative ideas have a natural way of developing and maturing and sometimes it’s counter-productive to hurry things up.
Few weeks ago I made a decision to make a photo book composed of at least 70 conceptual photo manipulations, a kind of work that requires a period of preparation, location scouting, getting props etc and I calculated that, if all goes well I will need at least two weeks to finish one photo! “Two weeks! That means I’ll be working, uhm, like year and half on one book! Fawk! That’s a lot of time!!“, I screamed, again. But, making high quality work requires a lot of time.
My last “real” photo project was 365 challenge on flickr. I spent a year shooting, editing and posting a photo a day. It was fun but also a bit soul sucking at same time.
And popularity of doing 365 projects in general (and success of some artists doing it) made me believe that it’s perfectly normal for people to be creative and productive every single day of the year and if I’m not, well, I’m just not talented/disciplined/determined enough. Wrong!
Our lives are based on duality, and made up of both ups ad downs, periods of high and low energy, times of inspiration and times of complete un-productivity. No human being can be super inspired and creative 24/7, just like no one can be blissfully happy 24/7 (unless on some kind of drug hehe).
Yet, as online artists and bloggers we often expect of ourselves to be in constant state of creativity, to keep posting, to keep on making content, if not every single day then at least few times a week :) We, believe that if we don’t contribute on regular basis, we won’t be relevant anymore, we’ll lose “followers”, we won’t be liked, our voice will get lost in vast ocean of countless blogs and content online.
But, again creating high quality content does take a lot of time. This is where things get tricky, if I take time to develop ideas and produce really great work, I’ll have to stop social networking/blogging for a while and everyone will forget about me….. Wrong again!
Working within the frames of very busy, always changing online world creates false belief that if we’re not constantly present and contributing we will be chewed and spit out by the Great Cyber Space Beast and our work will be sadly forgotten forever and ever. That’s not true. Authentic, passionate work (and mine and yours is is such :)) is not so easily forgotten, it makes impact, it moves people, it inspires them.
I still remember my favorite bloggers and artists from years ago who seem to have no online presence anymore or, who have for some reason stopped making art. (This goes out to you creative artistry Michele :))
We live in a world of multitasking, fast communication, countless distractions that keep speeding up our pace, tricking us into believing that if we stop for a moment we will be run over and we won’t be competitive anymore. Online world is especially this way.
But high quality, authentic, genuine art is still the kind of art that makes real difference, that truly makes an impact and it’s (more than ever) worth taking time to produce.
And I, as a blogger and internet artist I have to keep reminding myself that is perfectly alright to take all the time I need to make quality work I’ll be happy with because only that type of work will find its way to people and hopefully make them happy as well :)
Thank you for reading, I know your time is precious :)