Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm a Thief...You Probably Are Too...

I am an artist.

My husband is an artist.

Our daughter is already an artist at 12 years old.

It's mentally draining living inside the four walls of our home with all this creativity and thought processing and....mess.

Our oldest son, thank goodness, is an excellent mathematician and we receive a small break from the artist mentality by his presence....he will probably be an architect....well drat, I guess that's another artist too.  There's no reprieve - we're drowning over here, someone bring some algebra.

Unless you are an artist, or live with one, it may be a struggle to wrap your mind around a day in the life of...a Howard. As a creative soul, I experience waves of new ideas followed by moments of drought that I am certain must be similar to writer's block. Sometimes executing said ideas is so utterly exhausting the only thing left to do is mentally shut down and watch hours of Mad Men or Grey's Anatomy until my cerebrum feels rested.

Because I never want to forget a good idea, I carry little notebooks everywhere and sometimes often I lose them and then find them months (years) later.  Back in January I did a little house cleaning - not literally, who am I kidding? - but figuratively, going through my idea books and goals and coming up with a plan for my 2014. I plastered my personal agenda on all of my media outlets as a reminder to think outside the box:

Then one day, while scrolling through my Instagram, I saw where a friend-of-a-friend posted a snapshot of a book she was reading. I'll admit, it rubbed me the wrong way....
Artists are thieves?? What?  Naturally, I had to grab this book as soon as possible and downloaded it to my kindle app the very next day. We read in Ecclesiastes that there is "nothing new under the sun" and I shouldn't be at all surprised to find enlightening answers right there in the truly inspired Word - after all, isn't the ultimate artist our Creator as He alone created all the many things around us from which we draw our inspiration? Austin Kleon expounds on this reality with many helpful insights on being an artist, loving your work, and fully accepting the notion that without each other (!) our inspiration well would run a little dry.

It's true, whether cognitively or subconsciously, we mentally note the pretty things we've seen and tuck them away in the recesses of our mind, drawing on our mental supply of beauty to create our own works of art. If I'm being completely honest, the below feather cake that I felt was oh-so-original when I created it was most likely inspired from a Zoe Clark cake. The girl can rock some feather work.  The list could go on and on of artists who have inspired me.

With my nightstand remaining endlessly loaded down with books (mostly biographies or educational gems) I recently laid hands on this jewel and it quickly made it's way to the top of my pile. 

In my opinion, the biggest mental struggle of an artist is staying focused on my own work, keeping the blinders on, and taking my own personal goals head-on. Throughout the years, I've heard much skepticism regarding my business - "there are so many people making cake", "there aren't enough people ordering custom cakes", "won't it get old working weekends" - the list could go on. A more sensitive person, may hear such comments and shrink back assuming others to be right. Thankfully, my feelings don't hurt easily and the only situation that really ever gets me riled up is a perceived injustice - I will fight like a pit bull against injustice. Regardless, I have found it more helpful to remember that just as no two snowflakes are alike and no two finger prints are alike, the same rings true of artists. There is only one me. That may sound arrogant, but that is not at all how it is intended. My chubby fingers could be given the task of making the exact same cake as an artist standing right next to me and the cakes are going to be different. It's just the way it is. I don't foresee giving it up any time soon - I couldn't stop creating cakes even if I tried. My soul craves art.  For now, I think I'll stay right here by my oven and continue throwing around my eggs and butter...after all, cake chose me years before I accepted her proposal...