I've checked with some established artists and they say that it doesn't get easier. In fact, it often gets harder. How do you filter out the clutter of opinions and stay focused? How do you re-energize and rejuvenate? Do you stay on this path, or take it in a new direction? How do you — and why should you — stay true to your art form?
Sorry I asked.
Then something miraculous happens. Last week it was in the form of the Nick Cave exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum.
Here visitors are confronted with multiple galleries devoted to the hyper-coloured wearable assemblages of glittery appliques, grannie squares, day-glo faux fur, crocheted potholders, fake flowers, porcelain birds, beat-up toy tops and other improbable materials that form Cave's fantastic gaudy Soundsuits. They're like mardi gras costumes created by tea grannies on acid. The mash-up of culture-laden doilies and buttons, rhinestones, shaggy polkadots, braided rugs, beads, twigs and baskets were made even more joyful in the accompanying nightclub-ready videos on four massive screens devoted to the Soundsuits in hyper- and slow-mo action.
Cave is clearly committed to his process. Surely someone along the way must have said these Soundscapes would never sell, that spending his days combing thrift stores for crocheted afghans was a waste of time and stockpiling floral hooked rugs and embroidered cushion covers was just hoarding.
What did I learn? It's time to stop apologizing and get back to work.