This wont be the first time I've mentioned perfectionism, idealism or managing imperfections in art, and I can assure you it is unlikely to be the last. Because it's an important subject. It's (and I think it's safe to assume this is true for most) one of the most prevalent acts of any artist... to judge our own work against an unattainable "ideal". But I say this: perfectionism is the business of gods, not artists.
That sounds rather cosmically bold, I know, but when we release ourselves from the bonds of perfectionism we allow ourselves the opportunity to discover possibility. You see that picture up there? Every mistake displayed in that work tried its hardest to embed itself into the shadowy subconscious of my self-doubt. Tried, and failed.
Because, ultimately, each misplaced wire, each gap in the weave, each kink in a curve is part of my process... of discovering something new, telling my story, weaving a wonderfully imperfect tale.
Perfectionism is boring. It's the story without the characters... all the flawed, refreshing noise that breathes life to the plot.
In art, is it important to know your tools and how they interact with the medium? Sure. Is it a practical step towards creative growth to fill your toolbox with established technique? You betcha. That's part of the process, ultimately, to learn the rules and when to break them. To refuse to be swallowed up by the extreme standards we set for ourselves. To acknowledge the "standard" and then dismiss it for a story a little more revealing.
Is perfectionism paralyzing your creative flow? Don't identify with the details, but with the the whole. What were you feeling when you began the project? How did that factor into the resultant work? Take a moment, and I admit this is difficult, but take a moment and really digest what your purpose was when creating that last imperfect piece.
Because it is imperfect.
And that's okay. Because it's also beautiful. And real. And complete. All things that represent a journey taken and finished. Each piece of art a page from our book.
Now how do you think a "perfect" story would read? I'm afraid I wouldn't know... as I've never been interested enough to read one. I'll stick with the stories full of characters a little crooked, and a lot more attractive.
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