The Cushion is thinning. I’m so grateful for my residency – so grateful. The time and space is invaluable and I know that.
Last year The Cushion served me well. First year post BA in fine art there is a LOT to learn – thrust into the ‘art world’, hugely in isolation, for the first time with no institution reassuringly backing me – luckily the expectations are graciously low.
In fact, after meeting Matt Roberts (a hero) briefly last year, one of my key objectives for the year became to realign my expectations, prepare myself for the long haul, not expect instant success and even begin redefining how I perceive success.
But the cushion is rapidly thinning and I’m ‘catching the fear’ so to speak. I’ve already had half of my time in the residency – HELP! – and it’s hard to quantify what I’ve achieved. I’ve developed lots of new work, yes, but have no quality marker for it and I’ve not got it ‘out there’ yet.
I struggle with Big-fish-in-little-Pond v. Tiny-little-fish-in-BIG-old-pond syndrome. The former is far more comfortable. I am the latter. In fact the pond couldn’t BE any bigger and I couldn’t feel any smaller in it.
To make matters worse, I’m hopeless with balance.
I used to resent that I wasn’t laid back (I like laid back people, probably because I’m not one of them) but now I’m learning to be grateful for my drive and motivation. At least it keeps me working. But the down side of being driven (and competitive) and not being good with balance is that sometimes I get to be obsessive. My GCSE and A-level years were spent slogging at my work to prove myself academically and it came at a cost.
So now I’m afraid of ‘over-committing’ my time. I’m so frustrated with myself. The residency is really generous with time and I’m sure there’s so much more I could do with it.
I remind myself of a Bible story – a worker trusted with money but so afraid of loosing is he buried it instead of investing it; taking a risk, allowing it to multiply. Don’t get me wrong, I do work hard – but I’m missing the boat somewhere. I need to be getting OUT more, more private views, applying for internships, risking rejections with competitions etc. more, more, MORE! I need to do more. I need to take risks.
Makes me think of a poem, I think by William Arthur Ward, called Risk. Here are some lines from it:
"To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental….
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss….
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
Also, I’m afraid of getting lost and feeling lonely in the BIG POND.