Marco Menendez for “Along The Way” a series about working artists.
1. “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” –Mark Twain
Let’s get this one out of the way. Discouraging individuals spend a lot of time standing still in their own toxic atmosphere when they could very well be investing that precious time moving forward. Unfortunately, they can also be contagious. Chances are you will encounter them throughout every stage of your life. Look at them as you would a hurdle in a race…why waste your time being frustrated by an inanimate object when you have places to go and trophies to win?
2. “There is nothing so stable as change” –Bob Dylan
Don’t be so quick to label yourself. You are an evolving creative being not a jar of pickles. You will go through many “isms” and you will “find yourself” over and over again. It’s called evolution and it is so much more fulfilling than literally painting yourself into a corner. If you need a break from painting, pick up a camera, when you are tired of that, consider writing. They are all valid and unpatented creative outlets. You can always go back and do what you were doing before at any time. The important thing is that it is what you want to be doing.
3. “I do not seek. I find. ” –Pablo Picasso
Creative blocks can be very paralyzing…but you can’t force art. You have to treat it like a lady…or better yet, a cat. You don’t just chase after a cat and expect it to land on your lap. You put some milk out and let it come to you on its own terms. I am not suggesting that you sit around and wait for an idea to magically appear, that’s unproductive. I’m suggesting that you keep yourself occupied finding inspiration. Read a book, ride your bike, take a roadtrip, go to a concert, make friends with cats…whatever floats your goat (hey, goats are more buoyant than boats). See how that works? Before you know it, art will seep out of your subconscious like sweet Vermont maple syrup.
4. “Don’t let your silly dreams fall in between the crack of the bed and the wall.”
–Jim James (My Morning Jacket)
Be delusional and ridiculous. Now, I’m not suggesting that you walk around looking like a Gary Busey mug shot. I’m talking about imagination here. As a child, Albert Einstein would daydream about riding on a beam of light through space. This fantasy inspired him to develop his theory of relativity. As an adult, he was clearly very serious about what he was doing but he could not have accomplished it without his “childish fantasies.” They are what will keep you wanting to do what you do instead of doing it because you “have to.”
5. “Don’t kill your idols. Carefully trap them in a jar and set them outside”–I said that
It is important to have someone to look up to and model yourself after. It is also important not to loose sight of “who you want to be” not just “who you want to be like.” Take what you need from your heroes but don’t forget to insert your own experience and voice into what you do…however, if you find yourself stuck in a rut or in need of inspiration, by all means, go out and find a good familiar quote.
Marco Menendez is an artist, painter, designer, photographer, blogger and explorer. He holds a degree in Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design. Marco specializes in surface, graphic and exhibit design working for companies such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Coach, Target and Urban Outfitters. He has exhibited his work in New York, Minneapolis and Los Angeles.