Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Fence Post

The ideas I'm working with in my art are intended to be general, not specific; global, not personal. However, there is inevitably a biographical interpretation of everything I do.

As I mentioned previously, I'm starting to explore the idea that there are fences between the 'seen' and the 'unseen'. This means we can see where we are and where we want to get to, but there are barriers in the way that have to be overcome somehow.

On a personal level, I've been thinking about what those barriers are for me. As I work through my 100 DAY experiment (this is Day 86 - 2 weeks to go), it is important that I not only think about where I want to be and what I want to do, but also that I identify the fences that are blocking me, and how I can get over them.

These are the ones I've identified so far, with some thoughts on how I am dealing with them.

Lack of Resources
This has been a real problem for some time - particularly in terms of money. It's tempting to think that if I had access to unlimited funds, then I could fix anything and everything. But that's a fantasy. A nice one though.

Nevertheless, the question remains : how am I going to do what I want to do with very little?

I am working on three responses to this:

1. I don't need much. Resourcefulness is as important as resources. Working with very little provokes creativity and generates (for me) a greater determination. I hate being denied anything and that acts as a spur to me to get what I want in whatever way I can.

2. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Linear thinking means that if I want this, then I need that. But I've had to find different ways to solve problems. I've had to keep my eyes open for solutions ... and they've often come in unexpected ways.

3. Changing my outlook to think more in terms of abundance than lack. There are loads of opportunities and resources out there in the world ... I just need to find out how to access them .

Which brings me on to ...

Lack of Know-How
For a long time, I would moan that I didn't know what to do. If only I knew what to do I would get on and do it. Yeah right.

Now I know what to do I've been moaning that I don't know how to do it. And that's got a fair bit of truth in it. How DO you live the lifestyle you want to live? How DO you make a living as visual artist? How DO you access resources and relationships?

My answer to this is that "there's nothing new under the sun". None of my 'problems' are new. Someone, somewhere has worked out how to do it and has probably written about it (probably lots of people in lots of different ways). Particularly with t'internet, there is a wealth of information, resources and know-how available. I like new ideas, so this is a great opportunity for me to do some research and discover creative solutions to problems. It's also an opportunity to look outside my own field and find out how others have resolved similar problems.

Lack of Confidence
I'm not sure about this.

I'm always enthusiastic about promoting others - I generally believe in people and want to see them do well and achieve their goals. If I can help, I will. But when it comes to promoting myself, then it's a different thing altogether. When I do, it feels like arrogance rather than self-confidence.

But I'm not sure that's such a bad thing. Obviously I believe in what I'm doing or I wouldn't do it. And I'm sticking at it even though it hasn't been at all easy at times (most of the time, in fact). So there must be some confidence at work there.

I just don't want to be one of those people that people avoid. Boring, self-obsessed, head up their arse.

Which links, in my thinking, to ...

Self Image
I don't know what I look like.

I've seen photos of successful men : smart navy suit, white shirt, red tie, or - for the more casual look - grey trousers, a navy blazer and an open-necked white shirt. Bright white teeth; short back and sides; highly polished shoes. If that's what success looks like then you can keep it.

But I don't know what success looks like for me ... or what it wears.

I don't want to look like anyone or anything else. I want to look like me.

But I don't know what I look like.

I'm snagged up on this one.

So, moving on ...

The pessimist thinks that nothing is going to work out OK so there's no point doing anything.

The optimist thinks that everything is going to work out OK so there's no point doing anything.

I tend to be an optimist and I've only just realised that it's not a good thing for me because it leads to inertia. It's a hurdle to me getting things done.

So, more than ever, I'm taking some kind of action every day, on the basis that actions have consequences which, in turn, give me something to work with.

So those are some of the fences I'm trying to clamber over.

What's fencing you in?

You ask some interesting questions. I now live in rural Latvia and would like to see rural Latvians doing well, but they can be a drunken lot at times which isn't surprising as the winters can be long and cold - they switched off our heating this week to our apartment due to upaid bills and it sure feels cold enough to turn to drink. But what to do? How do people make a living? How do they access the markets? Why should they when the state used to provide for them? It doesn't seem fair to be swept into the chaos of Capitalism. Anyway I did decide to do something and that was start a Development Management course with the Open University - at least I beginning to understand some of the problems and issues. What I would really love to do is to is open a craft shop as this is the ski area of Latvia (we have enough of the stuff still just not many big hills) and give an opening for all those talented artists - they create beautiful things out of very little, a creative nation. Dreams! Ideas! Oh just need to ground it a bit more to start somewhere but at least I have started and I don't have to do it all at once - taken me a long time to realise that. Hope you continue to enjoy the journey and the process
By the way it is not my unpaid bills. Unfortunately if one person is switched off we are all switched off - no independent units in these Soviet style blocks. The whole house therefore owes the money even though some of us have been paying.
There are two types of problems..ones you can do something about SO DO IT and ones you can't so f**k it( such restraint eh!).
there's only one barrier in my life... ME!
so anyways.... good to see you're still alive and kicking.
I have a question...WHAT HAPPENS ON DAY 101?
Wow. That's a lot to think about.

Have you ever heard of a guy named Dan Price? Check him out at

Did you plan for your 100 days to end at Easter (well, Good Friday), or did that just happen?
Interesting reflections and connections. You do have one BIG resource that's more important than all the others: time. And with it you will, no doubt, be able to get what you need. Keep going!
Joanna ... lots of challenges for you! Hope you find your way through and manage to get over any fences in the way!

Anonymous ... I've been following your "fixit or fukkit" philosophy and it seems to work! Day 101? Hadn't even thought about it, but now that question is haunting me!

Angela ... I didn't realise my 100 days ended at Easter! Interesting ...

Andrea ... I'd forgotten how important a resource time is ... thanks for the reminder! Must make the most of it.
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