There was a long period of time when I felt like everything I made had to be amazing. Screw that.
I’m so far past that I think I might be going in the opposite direction. I liken it to choosing friends when you’re really young.
At first, you want everyone to be your friend. You have an insatiable desire to be liked. And you quickly learn what behaviors are widely accepted and which are not, so perhaps, you adopt the behaviors that reward you with praise.
And then you realize how exhausting it is to keep up that many friendships, and how unmanageable it is to spread yourself so thin. You start to get anxious over presenting yourself in the best way possible, and you worry that if your friends see you for who you are – imperfect – they won’t like you any more.
And some day, you rebel against that. You clean closet. You get rid of friends that don’t accept you for your weirdness and your flaws.
Well folks, here we are. I cleaned out my closet a while back. Since then, I’ve been sharing my failed images. I’ve been sharing the times when I hate creating, or nothing goes right. I’ve been sharing those moments of sheer panic, frustration, and anxiety. I share everything. Everything art-related, it’s all out there.
I’ve stopped caring if you (the broad You), think I’m a bad artist or a good one, or an artist at all. I don’t care if you hate my art, share my art, wish my art had never been made. I don’t care if you make fun of me, think I’m weird, or any other mundane, idiotic thing someone might think.
Because honestly, it is boring. And it is silly. And it’s not worth our time – mine or yours.
So if you’re here, it’s likely because you’re weird too. Because you accept me for who I am. Because we’re weirdos and we love it, and hey world, we don’t care.
Speaking of that long period of time where I did care what people thought, seeing as it took a while for me to be as empowered in my weirdness as I am now: I used to be ashamed when I made something that wasn’t great.
This new image I made the other day isn’t my best. But I love it. It satisfied a primal need to create. I wanted to make something where before there was nothing. One of the greatest and most interesting things about humans is our desire to play God – to create where once there was nothing. In so many ways. Artists are the obvious example.
So I made this thing. It’s a self-portrait covered in hands. I’ve done that before. I touch on this a lot in my voicemail. And when I finished it, I thought, “Hmph. It looks a lot like other images I’ve made. It’s not special. I shouldn’t share this.”
And then I realized what I just did. I just degraded something I made simply because it isn’t the most fresh and new thing. Simply because I thought YOU might be bored with it.
And when I say YOU, I mean the YOU of the Internet that steps on artists who don’t fit their vision. People who think that art is made for them, personally. People who get bored too easily because that’s the time we live in. And the people who don’t care how fulfilled an artist is by their own work.
That is not you, because you’re still reading this. (Well done, by the way. I ramble).
I loved making this picture.
I love this picture.
I love creating. Everytime. No matter the outcome.
I’m so glad that I’m intentionally making time for myself to create no matter what. No matter the whim or inspiration; no matter the hang-worthiness of it. No matter. No matter.
And that is what I wish you for you. To create without worry. To create because you must. To create because you feel a primal urge to make something out of nothing. To create, no matter what.
Inspiration & moons,
Margherita Introna - To create because you must… Ah, this right here! I wake up everyday and say this to myself.
And this is a beautiful image. Raw, primal and beautiful.
Anna D Bruce - I am so glad that I am still part of your closet 😉 BTW getting voicemails from you is the best. I am glad that you continue to be you and create. I like creepy and weird as portrayed by my Instagram. Seeing your work gave me some sort of permission to be weird – I guess it was more encouragement. I’ve always been weird. I pretended to be dead in so many pictures of mine while in college… lol I posed by graveyards and pretended to be a dead bride on more than one occcasion. I never really cared because I thrived on being weird. But then I started adulting in the traditional way a nd somehow thought I should be contained. For many years I was. But what I have learned is that the more “me” I am, the more of the right people are drawn to me and the more authentic I feel. I think it’s important that we be our most truest selves. The wold has to much “normal” and non-descript. We need more uniqueness out there!
Heather Buechel - I love these voicemails from you. I wish I could meet you in person some day but I know that is not possible for me so this lets me be in your world a little more and you so inspire me. As a disabled self-taught artist I learn so much from you and your posts and your tutorials. I loved being part of your last community on facebook. It’s hard for me to come up with new things being so limited and I love that you just do what you love and screw the rest and quite honestly that’s been my attitude lately as well tired of social bias and rejection and my creative journey continues and that includes just being myself.
Gallagher Green - Great audio and post in general! I love this photo because it reminds me of the older version of its self, something about the connection between them makes even more powerful. So glad you took the time to create this when inspiration hit.
Kristin Indorato - Thank you for sharing of yourself so intimately. Your art—and your words—are a daily inspiration. (This moving photo included.) Those of us who are driven to create but crippled by fears of “putting ourselves out there” have so much to learn from your incredibly brave spirit. Thank you for continuing to make your honest art and open up so eloquently about all your inner workings. Having taken your two-week challenge and followed your story, I am now pouring over with ideas and taking action to see my visions through, despite having less time than I’ve ever had. I thank you truly.
Julie - Of late, I’ve been wondering why I haven’t seen an email from Brooke; I miss her inspiration, her thoughts, her promotions. So, I jumped over to YouTube; nothing! Wait, what? So, I jumped over to her blog only to see several posts I’ve missed. Ah, I’m caught up, I’m up-to-date with the latest Brooke content online. While reading this latest post of yours, I’m reminded of a student I had (when I taught first grade) who used to tell me how weird I was as a teacher and friend to the family. It’s been 10 years since that initial ‘weirdo’ statement, and it continues to be our theme. All my life I’ve been different, I’ve thought differently, taught differently (never subscribing to traditional teaching norms), and loved being weird. But with that came resistance especially in “what a teacher should look like” realm. As an artist, it felt super ok, as a teacher, it was frowned upon by many co-workers. This post of yours, Brooke, has reminded me of the importance of being me and weeding out that closet. Many thanks!
Beata Rydén - I love you Brooke! You are always so honest and that´s what I truly like about you. It´s just you and your unique voice and it´s truly inspiring <3