I have been writing this little post for the Mr. for quite a few years now, atleast 3 but maybe more like 5? As a writer, poster, critic you want to stay fresh with you content so I am looking to do a little renovate around here. So for the next few posts I will be experimenting and being more flexible then in the past. You still will see artists words and awesome work but maybe in a new way as opposed to straight up interviews. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for both the posts or the artists featured.
This month, I myself as an artist have been going through quite the transition in my studio and maybe perhaps feeling a little lost. I have been writing a lot about it on my blog and thought this was the perfect opportunity to ask some incredible artists, many of which I am also lucky enough to call friends, what do they do when they feel stuck?
This is always a tricky question because every time I really feel stuck I feel like it is the first time, which can prove to be overwhelming and a challenge to think straight. I am a runner and find that this repetitive action allows me to focus and relax. I also practice meditation daily and hope I remember to stop and clear my mind when I feel stuck.
Sometimes I keep making things to throw away after I’ve worked on them for just a few hours. Sometimes I stare at the wall. Sometimes I try to get out and look at things that inspire.
Emily talks about this very subject in the new book Creative Block. Check it out.
When I feel stuck in the studio….i keep working! I revisit the work of artists I admire and see how their work has changed over the years (Jenny Saville, Elizabeth Peyton, and Alex Katz) and watch lots of their interviews online to inspire me. I also determine to make lots of really bad art. If you put too much pressure on yourself that every piece has to be a masterpiece then you will never lose your way in the art making process. It is only by losing your way that you will discover the detours to amazing work.
You can see Cayce’s work at the upcoming Great Rivers Biennial at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
When I feel stuck in the studio I tend to draw or call a friend or both. Drawing gets my hands moving and gets some of those buried thoughts to surface again. Talking to a friend takes my brain off of trying to force creativity and allows me to open up and think outside of the problem. Plus they often have clever suggestions that spark a new direction or thought. And when all else fails, I look back at old drawings and pieces which jars my memory of pieces I’ve wanted to make for ages, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.
You can see Nathan’s Locker Room until March 16th at Leslie Lohman Museum in NYC.
I get my hands busy with whatever material or process strikes my fancy, no matter how silly or insignificant. Sometimes it’s just the thing that I need to be doing… most times it leads me to something else and then everything falls into place. It can take an hour, several days or a month to settle.
Jodi curated an exhibit currently on view in Somerville, MA. Get info here.
So what do you do when you get stuck?
Read previous interviews with the artists:
Until next time keep stitching.
Joetta Maue is a full-time artist, writer, and curator with a focus on the art of the needle. Her most recent body of work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy and the domestic space. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the critical blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch and the SDA Journal.