Been taking a little trip back and forth in time lately. Went back to 2008 and found that introspection and emotional openness helped me a lot. Rather, being aware of and curious about life, my emotions, and things in general just poured out of my in the form of art and other things ^^ It wasn't some abstract goal of "i have to make art". I really think of it like that. Instead, it was "this is a beautiful idea, I gotta see it come to life". It was largely about play and experimentation.
Then there was that other time when I took on a lot of comishes to pay rent. I got enough money in a short time, and it ended up taking me a lot longer to do it all than what I originally thought. Now, of course the ol' western work ethic is "just do it goddamn it! You got paid for it!". Under this is the assumption that money is a primary motivator. Also punishment is another motivator. Punishment could be harassing the artist, or demanding a refund, or whatever. The problem though, is that none of these things actually help or provide any right motivation to make art. "Sticks and carrots" (or punishment and reward) is great at getting the grass cut or fixing a roof. These are straight forward noncreative tasks. But try that with a creative task and it will very quick suck all the life and motivation out of you.
I could list a bunch of experiments that prove this, but I won't. So back to the story. I was stuck with all sorts of junk from having such a heavy work load. Sure, I was my fault, but will guilt help me make art? Nope. Sure, a lot of time passed before I was able to work on them. Would thinking about all that time and feeling horrible help me make art? Nope!
Then there was this other prickly idea that I've never heard anybody talk about before. Probably it was just in my head or maybe there's other people that believe it too. This prickly thing was the idea of ownership. It wasn't just ownership of characters and the like. This type of ownership was one of an idea. The very idea that a commissioner would give me was somehow "his" idea. How is this a bad thing? Well see, as an artist, I wanted to get it right. Getting it right is easy when you have model sheets and references all over the place. But when it comes to describing a situation...especially if all this information is coming from another person....and let's say you haven't talked to this person in forever and have no idea how to get ahold of them anymore...then yeah....anxiety through the roof! So, I started to think "what really makes this idea their's?" At that point, I thought about the differences between the way I think about and treat my own ideas versus someone else's ideas.
The differences were that if this idea was somebody else's then it became bundled up with all sorts of stresses. Thoughts about them disapproving of the way I drew it, or getting something wrong. Then I thought about the way I which I feel and think about my own ideas. It was very relaxing. I could build on and combine things, I could discover new ways of drawing or painting. It was like the ultimate playground / laboratory.
So given all the above, I began to think about these things as tools in my toolbox that help me make art. Since guilt and sense of time never helped me and actually hurt me, I made myself believe that I just had this idea (the commission idea) in the moment. That somehow, no matter what was going on in the world out there, inside my living space here there was only NOW. No past, no future, only right now. Besides, when I make good art, I'm never conscious of time, it's always forgotten.
I also started to think about the commissioner's idea as MINE. This may sound really odd and even appalling to some of you guys. But for me, it relaxed me soo much and freed up my mind. In effect it was using the best parts of myself to do the job. All from this simple idea of ownership. Pretty awesome huh?
So, think about when you first have an idea, a good idea. Remember how that feels? Now think about something you're being made to do...something you don't want to do, like that overdue book report that was due a week ago. Okay, now that's kind of how I felt, that last one :P I wanted to use my optimism, and drive to get me through this, not the stick and carrot routine.
I've tried talking to my friends about these things. The default position is to fallback on that old cultural stick and carrot thing: "well you should have ____ because ____". It really baffles me that nobody is as curious about this as I am. I don't really talk to a lot of artists either -_- ...that could have something do to with it. But even if you're not an artist....then surely this whole western work ethic and the misery it causes has somebody curious eh eh? I know that what I did back in June 2011 was a major thing for me. From all that I've read, I've got a good feeling that all of that was reverting to a Right Hemisphere way of doing things. You know..that other half of your brain? :P This is another thing that one friend always rolls his eyes at me over. I still consider it a major thing because it explains a lot ^^
I've read a couple of articles that pointed to worrying and rumination anxiety as the result of too much activity in the left hemisphere. I've had a ton of this type of anxiety over my life. So, what do I want from all of this? Simple. I want to built a new lifestyle out of it. One that pushes concepts of time out of my head, along with the idea of ownership being some kind of lock on an idea, and the fallacy of guilt as being useful in any way shape or form to do something. In other words, there's two competing ideologies about the world here. One full of fences, ownership, sense of time, guilt, anxiety, and zillions of rules. The other is one of timelessness, warmth, experimentation, openness, and play. I know that at anytime we all have a mix of these things bouncing around in our heads. I just pick them apart and lil more and wonder a lot about things than most people it seems :P