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MAKING WORK (that you are proud of)


“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” - Theodore Roosevelt


Prompt:

This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately and I’d like to take a deep dive into it with some other people. What is it that makes a work something you are proud of? And, what does it take to get there? 


My Answer:

I think I am most proud of work that I feel that I have earned… the things that I have worked hard at, or are a culmination of a lot of previous work. I feel that I have “done a good job” when I have invested a lot of time into learning, I have refined my technique and voice, and then carefully delivered the work with thoughtful consideration.


Thoughts and Actions:

I think there are a lot of components to making work that we are proud of. And it’s different for everyone. Inevitably, it changes as we develop as artists.


Proficiency/Skill:

Presenting work “well” or cleanly or precisely is only part of what can make us feel proud. Mostly these things pertain to the delivery of the actual concepts. But art or creative work is not just a demonstration of skill.


Creativity:

Feeling like we have genuinely worked creatively to solve problems or have done something new is also something that the artist can feel good about. It’s satisfying to feel “smart”.


Authenticity:

Over time we try things on that we may or may not like, eventually learning what feels right to our minds, bodies, and emotional states. When we have done something so many times that it feels like it is a part of us, we move toward authenticity. By allowing ourselves to make intuitive choices about what feels good in the process of creation, we allow the final product to manifest authentically. Our intuitive choices express our authentic selves. (In order for this level of creation to be reached, we have to feel safe to be ourselves.)


Purpose:

I think that when we are working on something that really believe in, we have the capacity to deliver incredible work. Purposeful work is work that aligns with your values, improves the quality of life (yours or someone else’s), is thought provoking, or makes you “feel” something (even if that feeling is to be deeply satisfied).


Presence:

Another great concept that came up in our conversation today (for performance artists) was the ability to be so in the moment that the work FEELS good and we get to express our selves fully and honestly. Flow state is a version of achieving this.




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