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FOCUS


"If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else." 

– Lawrence J. Peter


Prompt:

What is something in your artistic practice you’d like to focus on this year to help develop yourself as the artist you would like to be? This can be a general intention or a specific “thing”.


My answer:

I want to look at the same things and continuing seeing something new.


Thoughts & Actions:


  1. For an artist, more than anyone else, focus is essential to success. Focus is not just a term to define clarity, it is what defines you.

  2. Focus helps you to know where you are at in your artistic journey. It’s easy to get distracted when you think you should be somewhere in your practice that you’re not. We can place a lot of pressure on ourselves through comparison to peers or mentors. For example, when starting out, you should be focused on developing your skills and building your strength and vocabulary, not worried about booking contracts. Focus allows you to be present for that part of your journey without worrying about things that are yet to come. All of your mental energy and time goes into the craft and the process.

  3. Focus also facilitates a healthy and productive art practice by helping artists find and develop their voice. Once you build your technical skills, you get better and more nuanced at what you do. You start to get a sense of who you are as an artist. You can now discern what fascinates you and how you want to communicate that while still honing your skills. That clarity allows you to make intentional choices from all the information you’ve amassed. You get to sift through all of the people: teachers, friends, family, and fellow artists, and YOU get to decide what you want to keep from everything you’ve learned.

  4. Creating art with a voice refined by focus means you are ready to start sharing your work. When you are clear on your focus, you can start thinking beyond creating the work to the other aspects of performance art: audience, the type of shows you fit into, and even booking and selling your work. Form here you will learn the value of your work and where it fits in. Focus gives you the confidence you need to be the exact artist you want to be. 

  5. Remember focus is not “goal setting” often focus is not quantifiable, it’s not something that you “check off” your list. Goal setting is a tool for maintaining focus, but focus is bigger than your individual goals.

  6. Practice and train your mind to concentrate. Even through distractions, complications, frustrations, you have to learn to keep your mind calm. Practice without focus is a waste of time and focus without practice is worthless.

  7. Prioritize. Know what is most important for you, and work towards it. As an artist, you will want to do a lot of things; but you don’t have time/energy to do it all [well].

  8. Learn to say no. Saying no is another version of saying yes [to something else]. Staying true to your objectives gives you direction.




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