You know that feeling when you realize YOU are what's holding you back from reaching that next level in your art.
I know I get comfortable busting out pieces that are in my comfort zone. They receive nice feedback and make me feel like I've produced something worthwhile. But deep down I know I have the ability to reach new levels conceptually.
I see other artists pushing themselves trying new things and blowing me away with their cool ideas. Meanwhile I sit back in the safe zone.
There are a few things we can do as artists to push our artwork to the next level:
1. Throw Away What You Know: Don't use every trick and technique that you've learned. Your work might become more interesting if you let go of perfection or what other people have told you will make your art successful. Techniques are just tools. As artists we have the freedom to decide which we will use.
2. Be Open: GO SEE!!!! Move through life, see what attracts your curiosity, and then ask yourself why it interests you. Ask yourself questions about it. You'll probably uncover concepts you'll want to explore in your art.
3. Experiment Fearlessly: Get messy and try different things. Try working through different concepts. Try working in different mediums. Let go of labels and just experiment.
4. Give Yourself Time: This is important! You may leave the studio without anything to show for your effort. You'll likely produce a bunch of trash...you might make something you like then try to add more and end up destroying it. Just give yourself the freedom to try things out without the expectation that you'll produce a masterpiece or find your new direction in a day, the process may take weeks or even a year.
5. Share Your Progress: Find someone you admire and trust who you can speak to openly about your ideas. Show them your experiments and talk to them about what your goals were. Sometimes just hearing yourself explain it will help reveal what's working and what isn't.
6. Fail: Most of what you make when you experiment is trash so don't stress yourself out. As Garfunkel and Oates perfectly state in the video below, "it's better to be a loser than a spectator"
You can always mix your time between experiments and your current artwork in order to keep your morale and technique well practice. Now, let us create fearlessly and push ourselves to make something NEW!!!