Sometimes you just need permission. Permission to try. Permission to fail.
A good friend of mine sent me a blog post by a well-respected, professional photographer who wrote about how artists — and those who flee from such a label — often feel they’re “faking it” because they witness all their own false starts, tentative steps, and outright failures along the way to the final works that actually see the light of day. His point: keep trying, keep working, keep creating.
Reading the post forced me to accept that it has been a long time since I’ve done much art simply because of an irrational fear of failure.
I’ve always loved and felt a great connection with a commercial VW released back in 2000. It features Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” as the soundtrack to a idyllic moonlit drive in a Cabrio convertible. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend you press play below. (And if you’ve seen it a million times, I highly recommend you press play below.)
With that commercial as inspiration, I queued some Nick Drake and a bit of Mae in iTunes, dug out my conte crayons (which I haven’t really touched in years), and started sketching. It felt so good to work the crayon into the paper and rub my fingertips raw smearing and smudging and blending. The result was an interpretation of the Pink Moon commercial. (Yes, I took the artistic liberty of substituting a Jetta for the Cabrio. If you know me, can you blame me?)
I by no means consider this a masterpiece; it is simply a sketch done in an hour or two. But what a joyous hour or two it was. And that was the point. Not to produce a masterpiece. Not to talk myself out of even attempting something because I didn’t have the time, or the inspiration, or the talent. But to get lost in the process, the technique, the work, the creation.
The point was to give myself permission to fail so I could begin in the first place.