The Creative Path Less Followed

It seems far easier to be creative then it is to actually market or sell your creativity. This is becoming the lesson of this week. This is the greatest leap in my creative endeavor so far since this project began. I think back to the beginning of when I was first getting into photography and the greatest hurdle was just getting my self to the creative table. The beginning of a creative existence is filled with self-doubt and anxieties surrounding whether we are good enough or even talented enough to create. It happens in baby steps. For me doing “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” a 12-week program by Julia Cameron which created that leap in my head that said it was OK to be an artist and the acceptance of myself as a creative being. With each success your confidence grows. The consistence of creating good stuff begins to outweigh the mistakes and, believe me there are lots of mistakes, you reach a tipping point where you become a master of your craft and nearly everything you work on is at least interesting. But it is a long voyage of forcing yourself to the creative process that continually nudged your way to that point of this clarity. The next hurdle seems to be exposing what you create and putting yourself out there for judgment and criticism. Of course this has been my greatest obstacle because of what it is I want to do and the acceptability of it in the culture I live. The first Friday evening of every month all the galleries in Missoula have a gallery walk where everyone is open late and you can wander from shop to shop and see all the new work that is up for the month. It has been a huge success in Missoula because they typically entice you in with wine, beer or some sort of edible treat. But these shows mostly only contain images of western themes or landscapes, the usual sort of paint pealing off the old barn sort of work. If I where to display my sort of imagery I am afraid I would create a scandal sort of thing and my studio would possibly be fire bombed. So this has become a huge leap in my own creative acceptance. The next phase that I feel I am on the verge of overcoming is creating a presence. This is the culmination of the process of this year and the process of search for a place. This phase has been far more creative and certainly more work then the process of creating art where the process of art began. Along each step there is a huge growth and a better understanding of myself and the things that seemed insurmountable in the beginning are now trivial in the end. Why does it take most of us our entire lives to become what it is we desire or aspire to become? Is it that we just don’t know the pathway? Does it become a battle with our own self-doubt? I began this year asking the question from many of my artist friends “Are we born to be artists or is it something we learn?” I now see what a tremendous amount of time and perseverance it takes to create anything. But so many of us put that amount of time and effect into things we are apathetic toward as a means to an end, just to make a living. When the real question becomes what is it that really satisfies and makes us happy. I know most of my life has been lived in uncertainty. But I have had this impulse all of my remembered existence and somehow at this stage it all seems worthwhile.