Monday, September 29, 2014

Holida....SHUT UP! By Karen McGovern

I shudder to write this.  I am freaked out that I am even thinking about this.  It's the end of September.  You all know what that means.  HalloThankChrismicus is coming...sneaking up like toxic fog.  Wait, did I say that out loud?

Every year at this time, those of us in the Artsy biz turn our attention to designing for the season.   Seasons.  Holidaze?  WHATEVER.  We all start thinking about production, even tho that word makes my skin crawl from an artistic standpoint.  Every year I struggle with the idea of producing "holiday" work.  For those lucky, talented artists with large followings, this insn't so much of an issue.  But for smaller, lesser known artists trying to make a living creating art, this seasonal madness is sometimes a make-or-break time of year, filled with pressure and a healthy dose of TERROR.  How to create irrisistable art without selling your soul artistically.  I know many artists that are becoming busy little elves about now, disappearing into their studios and craft rooms, emerging sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving hollow-eyed and hunch-backed, but STOCKED FOR THE SEASON, BY GOD!  
This kind of says it all...the endless list, frantic work, and a GIANT CLOCK ticking away...
Well, to quote my all-time favorite Christmas elf, "I want to be a Dentist!"
By that I mean I choose not to get all worked up about holiday stuff.  I tune it out as much as I possibly can and go about my business as usual--even when weaving my way thru seamless displays of pumpkins, turkeys and trees EVERYWHERE.  I say we dress a turkey as Santa, perch it on a jack-o-lantern pumpkin and call it a day.  Litterally.

Anyway, to those that go into creative overdrive, I wish you the best.  Stay hydrated.  Go outside every once and a while--I'm sure you'll be vitamin D deficient before it's over.  Remember to eat.  Remember to occasionally visit your family so that they will remember who you are when you actually come up for air.  Install a UV light near your bench so you don't morph into Gollum (not a good look, people, seriously).
 

Bottom line--don't give in to the pressure.  Trends.  WHAT'S HOT THIS SEASON?  ETSY MADNESS.  Blarf.  Stay true to who you are as an artist from the get-go.  Your clients come to you for a reason, THEY LIKE YOUR WORK--PERIOD.  If you are typically a mixed media artist who creates stunning raw stone jewelry, your clients aren't coming to you looking for candy cane earrings or adorable ghostie pendants.  So...DON'T TRY TO MAKE ANY.  If your clients come to you because you make candy cane earrings and adorable ghostie pendants APPLAUSE TO YOU and keep up the good work!  I have a dear friend that makes cupcake pendants and earrings.  Exquisitely detailed glass cupcakes that look entirely edible and ARE SO FREAKING ADORABLE IT KILLS ME.  When I see her work, I always think, "I should try to work small..."  Then I punch myself in the face and move on. 
 
I make weird stuff.  If I were to try to make anything else it would frustrate me and I would waste TIME AND ENERGY, two things YOU NEVER GET BACK, and, I would end up feeling like a failure and that sort of SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF YOU ARTISTICALLY.  This time of year is full of stress for so many reasons--don't let that bleed into your art and your ability to create art.  Creating art is therapy, and should be joyous and an escape from all the madness.  If it is anything less than that you are doing it wrong....for reals.  This time of year brings one holiday to the forefront that is my favorite.  Day of the Dead.  I love making sugar skull themed art.  So I do.  But I make that any time of year, it just so happens that October really supports this expression.  And yes, I am aware that sugar skulls are quite popular right now, so the market will be flooded with them.  But, I'll make mine anyway, becuase I truly love the meaning behind the art and the art itself.  I will NOT make 50 sugar skull themed designs.  I will NOT try to reach some sales goal with the work.  I will make what I feel, when I feel it.  I hope you all will at least try to do something similar and not set yourself up for frantic production.....it ain't healthy I tell ya!
 
A few of my sugar skull designs...more to come!
AND, harkening back to my earlier post about custom work--I advise artists to not accept much of it during the holidays.  One more thing to add to the pressure???  No thanks. Do what makes you happy.  The end. 

So, I wish you all a productive and creative season.  Enjoy the changing scenery.  Watch the leaves change if you can.  Hell, jump in a pile of leaves the first opportunity you can.  Celebrate the changes and the beauty given to us by the Earth.  Be peaceful.  Close your eyes and just BREATHE.  Time is FLYING and we must capture the moments we can and hold them close--create something beautiful, unique and in our own voices.  Look at your hands and marvel at what you can make with them.  Don't waste time or effort on anything less than joyously YOURS.  Can't wait to see what you create......

11 comments:

Lynn said...

honestly.. I laughed out loud. I use to do the whole holiday jewelry stuff as well. Now I just do ME.. and you either get it or you don't.. love the skull with the dragonfly by the way...

centsations said...

Thank you Thank you! :)

Nan Smith said...

Thank you for your refreshing point of view, Karen! Such a breath of fresh air in the craziness surrounding holiday madness. You have helped me to slow down and not worry about sales and numbers of listings, etc. If they want it they will buy it no matter what time of year it is!

gloria allen said...

Thanks for the support. You are so right we must remember not to get so caught up and taken away from being true to ourselves and not overwhelmed this time of year

13 said...

This time of year is insane, it's like being in a Star Trek movie going at warp speed. I just need to breathe... Love those skulls : )

Nathalie Lesage said...

Very wise words!

Carol Dekle said...

Good point Karen, I can't stand all the holiday hype and over consumption. Buy, buy, buy....and the madness is just beginning!!! In my family we try and focus on what is important this time of year, being close to one another and celebrating the cycles of life. I love your sugar skull designs!

Breezy said...

Just so spot on! Full of the things I try to tell myself while being overwhelmed by emails saying "holidays are coming, make this latest thing"

Shel said...

What a great post Karen! It's hard staying true to ourselves sometimes, especially when we have clients/friends asking for specifics, but yours are 'words of wisdom' here and ones I'm sure many of us should take to heart! (Your sugar skulls are so unbelievably cool!! There's now drool on my keyboard!!)

Alessandra Fryzel said...

Thanks for this blog...I am going through sort of an artistic crisis already, so piling Christmas on top will only make my pile crash even more...so thank you, I'm gonna do the same...do what I feel like doing :) Nice to get some great advice!

Aiden smith said...

Hello, i liked the way of representing your jewelry. you proved that creativity never ends. One more thing that with the use of unheated ruby gems or other gemstone, jewelry looks get enhance.

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