Dealing with creative block
Dealing with inevitable moments of frustration founded upon an inability to create to the level expected of yourself is inseparable from a practice of creativity. Notions of failure associated with having to take a painting off of the wall that you are not entirely happy with and has not pushed your practice in a new and exciting direction, especially when a deadline such as the degree show is looming, will result in feelings of frustration, low self-confidence and lacking inspiration. Acknowledging why a work has not exceeded your expectations in the way others have, when your approach and process has been identical to previous works, will allow you to explore your process in a more enhanced and hopefully in the long run positive light. At the time however, in the moment of realisation that your creative flow is not acting in ways you would hope, it is challenging for the artist to realise why such a block has occurred at a potentially highly significant moment. What is different between today and yesterday that means your work and process is not flowing as well as it could and should considering all circumstances are the same. Once you have torn down the work, thrown it on the floor and had your moment of anger/frustration/sadness the tide turns to the artist’s tenacity regarding their own process in order to explore how and when they can develop from this.
The notion of change is highly significant here, in accepting failure caused by creative block, you must consider what it is about your practice that must be developed in order to create successful work once again. Often, looking to inspiration from other artist’s works and their theme can be significant, especially if you are able to see the work in life. Also,looking back to previous works you deem successful can allow the artist to acknowledge the separate factors of the work that have achieved what they had hoped, and consider how they could bring these forward and apply them to new pieces. On the other hand, an opposing way to deal with creative block could be to explore a new process, one that exemplifies a faster pace and lack of care for the outcomes. Working in such away explores process rather than outcome and allows a freedom and spontaneity that their normal practice might not use as much. By removing the worry of what a painting may look like at the end allows a greater opportunity for the artist to regain a sense of what it means to create in reaction to materials and processes. Therefore, in returning to the foundations of making, the artist returns often to the foundation of their practice, ensuring that the next work they make will have developed from the work they deemed a failure. Escaping from a momentary pause caused by creative block allows the artist to gain the confidence and experience to approach it in the future.
Ensuring that you take full advantage of the moments of upmost motivation and inspiration that is presented through a creative practice counters the times lacking in creative flow, when the work produced is less than satisfactory. A greater experience comes from times of frustration when the realisation comes that these feelings will not last forever, it is not time to metaphorically hang up your paint brushes, just merely a part of the creative process that counters the joy of making. Without these bumps in the road to remind us of the privilege it is to be creatives, we would find no moments of complete and utter delight when we discover something new about our practice. And with that, I think I have just written myself out of a creative block.