Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get a hobby, that’s not art!

One day, I woke up and I didn’t want to do art anymore. I thought it was boring. I wanted to read, to see the world, do crossword puzzles, laundry - anything but art. Though I love it and give it everything I’ve got. That was exactly the problem.

Here at Monkey and Seal, we are always encouraging you to follow your art. To cultivate it. To dream it. To pursue it wholeheartedly with focus and intention. Now we encourage you to get a hobby that’s not art.

To put art in a special jar. Water it. Now, go do something else.

The funny thing about art is that it stagnates when you look at it too much, but grows faster when you are simply enjoying life fully. That means, going to the movies, seeing friends for coffee, or trying something new like belly dancing.

If you lock yourself up in your room, studio, or office to create art for long periods of time, it’s pretty much the same thing as a work prison for your inner artist. You can be inside one of the most spectacular hotel suite, or dream studio, but if you don’t have anything else besides art and art is your only goal, you’re still going to feel like a caged bird performing tricks doing the expected routines. Stare at the same four corners every day and you’ll find yourself quickly drained of new ideas. 

When art becomes the sole focus of attention, then art becomes very “serious.” And when we become “serious,” we become very uptight, solemn, and predictable. BUT hobbies, take the “seriousness” out of your art-making process, and introduces playtime.  

Yes, there is more to life than art. GASP. And by exploring other aspects of your life and interest aside from your main art, you’ll be greatly rewarded by creativity. By doing other things you'll expose yourself to new inspiration, outlook, and experience. With art, you can’t predict when an inspiration strikes.

So walk about. Take up biking, container gardening, fencing, or whatever hobby suits you.

Our brain is wired to process new information. While you are taking a “break” from art, your brain is furiously making connections with your new activities. Your next sculpture idea can come from the anatomy of a flower. The next film idea from the latest crime investigation news or the local mysterious Laundromat. The next crochet pattern idea comes from the sushi bar where you and your friends last ate.

Other than being an artist, what 5 other hobbies and lives can you have?

For Seal, she is a crime investigator journalist, a dancer, martial artist, a chef, and an architect. One of her hobbies is actually to investigate a crime through multiple news reports and spot inconsistencies. She is an arm-chair detective and her interest in journalism brings up many novel ideas for a film she’s working on. When she’s stumped on her painting, she also likes to do yoga or go for a run in the neighborhood. She has made friends with some of the local cats and she always stops by the row of stargazing lilies growing on Presidio and Broadway St. These activities actually help her to focus on her art when she’s back in the studio, and bring fresh takes to an otherwise repetitive art-making patterns.

Hobbies allow art to always become new adventures. Instead of a dreary day of art making. Art becomes a wink and a smile before and after work. With stolen glances in the middle of a busy street. A surprise visit during lunchtime. An afternoon nap. In bed with cinnamon hot cocoa. When art is balanced between attention, care, and immersion, with playfulness, distractions, and leisure, every time you return to the canvas, it will be refreshing.

So, what 5 other hobbies and lives can you have?