You learn your work by doing your work

The term "aspiring artist" has been around a long time. Merriam-Webster defines aspire as, "to want to have or achieve something (such as a particular career or level of success)".  I've never been fond of the phrase.  It implies that there is a future stated or goal to which an artist strives to achieve and that the current work of the artist is not yet adequate or a quality to be "recognized".   

The artist's journey is a continual evolution of his or her work.  No one stage being more or less relivant or meaningful in terms of their creative output.  Eileen Rafferty in here presentation, Ritual + Curiosity Keys to Creativity on B&H Event Space shared a quote from Art and Fear - by David Bayles and Ted Orland, that for me sums up the artist journey for me, "You learn how to make your work by making your work."

At the heart of this statement is the truth that each photo I have taken, from my early efforts as a yearbook photographer in junior high to the latest images I have captured, all have contributed to who I am as an artist.  In fact looking back of the work of my 13 year old self, I see elements of quality images, long before I knew what composition, the rule of thirds, or depth of view were.  Now there was plenty of junk in that pile of prints and negatives, but my ability to see was clearly there.  In some ways my youthful ignorance was freeing.  I did not fear.  When I feel uncertainty and fear starting to creep in, I remind myself that I make photographs first and foremost for myself.  I have a need to create and photography is a means by which I can create and share images.  The image first appears in my mind and through my use of a camera, lens, lighting, and composition, I am able to capture and process the image into a finished work that if I am successful, fulfills the the vision that was on my mind's canvas.

So if you know the feeling of needing to create something, get out there and just do it.  No fear, no judgement, just free inspired creative work.  If you are satisfied with the work, you have succeeded.  If you the resulting work leaves you less than fulfilled, then you have not failed, you have had the opportunity to learn.  I firmly believe that is a human need that calls each of us to express our own creativity.  Creative work comes in many forms.  Get out there and make some music, paint, drawn, bake, cook, write, or dance.  Do the work that you are called to make, learn your craft and be joyful.