We all have them.
If we are incredibly cowardly or take ourselves too seriously, we don’t do anything at all because of them.
If we let things get to us too much, or have too much pride, we allow it to stop us, because it is easier to say we suck and laugh it off.
If we then go to the next step, we sneer at other people who don’t feel the same way.
I spent months saving the money to make Bordello Rhetoric. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I lavished attention on it. Now I look at it and I say NOOOOOOOOOOOO.
It is a development piece. I did not take inspiration from anyone but Boris himself for this piece of work. I did not even need to plan it. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I went ahead and did exactly that. It involved importing agate from a quarry in India, importing the beads from a manufacturer in Germany, sourced Georgian handles from an antique collector, an ungodly amount of resin, and a ratty old box gifted by a friend. (the principle of the Boris Johnson collection is to render unemployed furniture ‘Fit for Work’ by means of artifice, and preferably guile) I replaced the castors twice, which alone cost me a week of 24 hour caring for my mother in financial terms. 24/7 care is a lot of hours, and requires a lot of commitment if you want to avoid being robbed by the social work department and having your mother killed by an institution. So why do I hate myself for it now?
Well, because I should have used my shades of colour more effectively and done a better blend on the beadwork. Yes it is quite stunning, but it could be more stunning. Yes it is as I intended, but it could be better because I had no reference point. It is nice, but it is not as nice as it could be if I had visualised it more effectively.
Life is not like that. If I had known I would fall crazily in love with a health guru, I would have looked after myself better. If I had known that the NHS would kill my mother anyway, I would not have been investing every penny in keeping her well by natural means. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. This also applies to our artwork.
We should never feel bad about completing a piece of work that we no longer like by the end of it, nor should we worry about promoting pieces we no longer like, because as creators we are not trustworthy judges of what is good or bad. I have thrown out pieces that other people thought were works of genius in the past, because I knew I would do something better. When I first came across Wolfe, quite apart from not knowing how to get his attention any other way, all I could think about was how I could make him better, and better, and better. I am still guilty of this. Instead of appreciating what people or objects are, I strive for improvement.
My friend is even worse than this. You cannot ask him to collaborate on a project from the beginning, because the objections are so many and varied that the project never starts. He is, however adept at finishing work. Once you think you are finished, he is ideal for finding details that you never thought of.
It took more than three years of deep and probably constant thought before I realised that I was the problem. My desire for perfection was neither realistic, nor desirable. Wolfe was right, I was wrong. What matters is the doing, not the striving. The methodology is less important than the result. When I finally accepted this, which took some time, Ina was born.
Conceptual thinking is probably more important than technique, when it comes to actually developing your work and ideas. Acceptance of imperfection is necessary to reach mastery, because if you really care about your work, you very quickly realise that you will never truly become a master of anything. I am fortunate that as a former chef, who worked for culinary glory for many years, I was aware of the futility of perfection. I just hadn’t realised how universally applicable the concept was until I met my far more successful and happy twin (Wolfe and I were born twelve days apart, which was part of the reason for the level of focus)
So, when you have your own ‘Oh God I suck’ moment, feel good about it. You learned something, and you need never feel ashamed of growth. It is likely that nobody will even notice your mistake, because mistakes are often painfully beautiful, even when they drive you crazy.