Salvador Prez & Mike Moustakas - by AO

[Before I start – let me note that I am not a trained writer in any sense.  My writing style just depends on mood, sleep, caffeine and maybe the help of another more experienced writer.  My grammar varies and my proofing needs a ton of work – mainly because I was an awesome “C” student all throughout school (and pretty much now).  Never the less, I am putting it out there – my art, my books, my designs and now my blog.  Why? For a couple reasons – for promotional reasons, behind the scenes reasons and for younger  artists coming-up reasons.   So if you’re  a critic and hate bad writing, do not read this.  If you can read beyond the mess – roll the dice.  Thx – ao.]

“Art=Work” – by AO

“Love what you do and you won’t work a day in your life.”  Those words, in that phrase, are true – for some.  What percent?  I have no idea.  But there are some of us that do love what we do (art) – and we see it and feel it as work… and guess what, it is work.

By the way, this perspective (mine) comes from a guy who works a 9-5er, is a dad and shoots to produce high quality art at night and weekends – so I may be speaking from a totally different angle than most young, single and more talented artists.  Or maybe it is because I come from a family that only worked manual labor jobs – mom worked in a factory all her life and dad was a railroad man.  There weren’t any “working” or “non-working” artists, singers or writers in the family line.  All basically manual labor workers.

Now many of us creative types have, at one time or another, felt we should, for whatever reason,  quit drawing, painting, designing or whatever – but why? Because it gets really tough at times.  Sometimes it gets really, really, REALLY tough – or whatever reason.  And maybe some of us feel like we should quit.  And maybe some of us should.  That’s your call.  And maybe some of us shouldn’t.  Maybe we need to take time off.  Or maybe we just need to refocus?  ( I have “refocused” a hundred times… after quitting a hundred a times!)

Now I say refocus because its kind of like when I quit trying to learn how to dunk a basketball in my 20’s.  Yeah, that’s right, dunk.  Me, 5 foot – 10 inches at 172 lbs – I had some lofty goals with sports when I was young, right?  Then after about a month of work – I figured, my dunking days were not going to happening.  So I quit.  I quit trying to dunk.  I didn’t quit basketball.  Since I still loved the game, I refocused on a different part of my game.  My shot.

So I reviewed the shots I took the majority of my game.  I began to develop a deadly combo of mid-range, long range, free throws and backboard shots (mid-range & long range there too).  Over and over – over and over – again, over and over and over and over.  But in order to develop these particular shots, it took months of practice, creating my own drills.  (And twenty years later, I still practice those drills, from those same spots.)  In any case, all of that, helped me improve.  Improve – not to the pro or college level, but on a personal level to compete against the guys I played against on a regular basis, and by the way, most of then are (or were) better than me taller than me and can jump much higher than me – until I put what learned to the test – now I can at least compete.  Seeing the results, then and now, is pretty cool.

Figuring that stuff out proved a couple things to me – the first steps to being better in any thing (art, math, school, sports, etc.) is figuring out what works (without cheating), what you can build on and then work your butt off.

Those days in the gym alone were kinda nuts.  And it was fun – but most of all – it was work.  In retrospect, I should have worked on my handles (dribbling), and should have had my butt home working on more drawing and painting, but that’s for a different blog post.

But what made it “fun”?  Just like art,  was figuring things out and building on what I knew worked, what I could make better and what I could control.  And then ultimately seeing the final satisfactory results.

As an artist we can control – what we can control.  Your time, your knowledge, your determination, and your focus – so build on that.  It will take physical and mental focus, and it will take time, and most of all – work.

When I enter my studio (drawing/painting space), I never tell myself, “Let’s get to art”.  When I sit down at my computer to design or work on a web page, I never say, “Let’s get to designing or layout-ing”.

After I say, “Let’s make some magic.”, I always say, “Now let’s get to work”.

To those where art comes easy and with little to no failure to their awesome success – God bless.  But to those of us who are playing catch-up, juggling life’s resposibilites – keep grinding on the regular in hopes to reaching multiple your  plateaus – I can’t say, “Keep arting”.  I can only say, “Enjoy the fun moments of satisfaction during your process, build on what works, try to stay positive and most of all – Keep Working”.

Keep drawing – keep painting – keep grinding,


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