Feeling trapped is not at all a unique artist experience. Most artists will feel a crossroads in how they create, or what they create, or why they create. But that feeling manifests within each of us differently, at different times, and produces different mindscapes that cry to be closed up or scream to be freed. I have always been a confident artist. I have always valued that aspect of any person, when they could create art and believe in it and do so without letting opinions barge in. And while that has not changed in me, my desire to create has.
I find myself looking at the new works I create with a certain dissatisfaction. There is a voice calling to me, and it is mine from the future. She tells me to follow her, confidently, as I have always done, even though the path looks different and I cannot see my way. This is true of all artists. When we find our calling we must answer it, no matter how frightening it appears. The moment we stop following what our heart says is true, we create works that speak lies about our character and souls.
The only piece of me that is nervous about moving forward is the part that loves the certainty of what I already do. It is the voice that tells me I will lose what I have built; that no one will care if I create something different; that no one will notice. But that part of me is what I have never loved. It is an entity unto itself, that I choose to quiet instead of feed, and that we all must reconcile. When I see myself as many people in one body, it is easy to pick out the ones that would feed me waste. I choose to nourish.
I have new ideas and new plans and new goals. I cannot see past the beginning because it is a direction I have never gone in before. I cannot say if my new works will look drastically different or largely the same. I cannot say if they will be “good” or “bad”, but those questions lead to death. What the scared girl inside of me means to say is that I do not know if they will be well-received or not, if I will love them, or not. But the adventurous soul in me does not care about opinions, my own or others. It wants to jump in head first. It wants to scare me. It wants me to be free from the shackles of doubt.
And so I follow her with one eye open, walking into the unknown that art always should be, as I plan a new series of images to nourish the soul. As the new year begins I will be sharing my process of this more elaborate new work that I will be creating. I rented my first studio space to build in. I want to be messy and to make messes and to see where that leads. I want to share with you my process and my doubts and the scary confusion that comes with doing something different. I will be creating calls to action, so that we may work on something new together, and support one another along the way.
I created this image recently in my desire to show the duality that each of us possesses. The GOOD and the BAD, though nothing can ever be reduced to such a triviality. It is the YES and the NO, the QUIET and the QUIETER. It is the one that wants to speak but is SILENCED, and the one that SILENCES. It is what we all face within.
I hope you will feel open enough to share with me any artistic struggle you might be facing. After all, ’tis the season for change, and therefore doubts and adventures. And we are never in that struggle alone.
Nikki Mulkern - My big struggle for the past couple of years was going from photographing families, newborns and children to only doing them for the fundraiser I do for my Mom every year and moving on to a full-time fine art photographer. I knew in my heart and head that this is what I needed and wanted to do, but I felt so guilty for no longer offering the sessions I had been doing for the past 6.5 years. I loved my clients and working with them, but didn’t love the work I was doing anymore. I had a moment in August where I was editing a family session, and it felt like it took forever, it really only took a few hours but it felt like it drained me and I had no joy at all. The next day I started working on one of my pieces which takes so much more time, but when I was finished I realized I was filled with joy, I was proud of the final image and it felt like time flew by. I knew in that moment that I needed to take the leap of faith and just do what I truly love to do. So as of mid-Oct I am now only working on my fine art full time and it feels wonderful!! I have other struggles that I will now have to overcome, but this one was a big one for me!!
I truly can’t wait to see what is in the future for myself!
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you as well <3
Kim - Authenticity, and listening to my soul. The struggle of desiring to create and shoot and connect is overwhelming and I fall off the path often of following my soul. I just keep re-evaluating and moving forward. The thing I find the most challenging is judging myself too harshly, based on what I “Think” others will like, or not like, react to or ignore. So I feel where you are at as I live that as well.
Jen Sulak - My struggle inside has always been in many forms WHERE DO I FIT? I have moments in this industry where I feel completely out of the loop. I’m doing work I love…but it is not reaching anyone the way I had hoped maybe. I think it all comes back to building relationships. Not the shallow ones, the ones that CONNECT us purely…I’ve always desired that deeply but sometimes my persona comes with that side that shuts the doors and sits by the walls pushing everything away. I always want to be REAL. My emotions and thoughts and feelings are just part of this life experience. My goals for next year are unlike things I have done for myself. Finding myself a bit more organized – but still struggling for that next level. I feel I am on the verge of an awakening and something I cannot stop. No going back. 🙂 Either way – I can’t wait on feedback from everyone these days. I have to know inside that I’m good enough and that my work will eventually make sense to that ONE PERSON that needs it. I’m ok with that! Meanwhile, I will stretch forward to my future self…that is free from walls…without boundaries even when I think I’m boundary-less. 😛 I write in run-on sentences but at least I know what I’m saying. Here is to 2016 and much more of creations, creativity…and honestly? JUST BEING. Just BEING means to be. Be present. Feel the things. Don’t make everything WORK. 🙂 love you!
Hanna - My struggle is to connect with others, a little bit like Jen said above (I think!). Finding a place where I fit. I have always had trouble reaching out and it is always my weakest link. Also to connect with myself and find that flow… every day life with the practical things to do is draining me of energy. I am very much looking forward to 2016. And also seeing that new work you are talking about, Brooke!
FIT BMX - That is super cool you are getting a studio, I can’t wait to see what comes from it. I know it will be great!
As a beginner, the problem is time. It’s not that I don’t have it, but I feel like going out hiking to take photos, or spending time editing, is a waste time. Because there are things that I could be doing that would make money, or that just seem more important.
I am really trying to stop this, and spend more time with my photography.
I nearly forgot, I love that photo! Great job!!! 🙂
Chrystal Kelly - Hi Brooke
I love this image and all though I am just starting to put myself and my work out there, I understand what you are saying. I have been sort of confronting feelings of why I make the images I make and what is it that I want to say. I think as artists we are bound to feel that way. I want you to know though that some of the beauty of the work you do and the way you share with so many, myself included is an awesome source of inspiration that so many of us identify with. As you grow as an artist, I believe you have made friends for life, you wont walk alone. I have personally been struggling with change coming in the form of graduation. I did not go to a fine art school, I went to a commercial arts school and made the art that I wanted to anyway. But here I am 2 weeks from graduation, I don’t know what I am going to do, I find myself wondering if I will find work and be able to support my child and myself doing what I love. I also fell into a river with my camera this fall and haven’t been able to replace it. So my fears are kind of vast and eminent. I am still proud of myself for managing to somehow get through school and keep a roof over our heads, still my drive and desire to create burns within me daily. I know everything works out one way or another always, and I believe that if I breathe and don’t allow myself to get stuck in a spinning wheel that it will come together.
Paulo Carvalho - First, I want to said that I love this picture. It’s so awesome! Relative to my artistic struggles… My work is mostly done at my house (terrace) and when I shoot in places, I usually choose discrete locations, without people. I cannot concentrate on what I’m doing, with people looking at me and what I’m doing, which to their eyes are sad figures, but for me is something that makes me happy. This causes me anxiety and my work loses with that. So, my artistic struggles in this moment is to overcome these discomfort, because my future works ( in 2016) will be in some locations not discrete and with a lot of people.