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Moss on a Rolling Stone

We are all familiar with the saying, that moss won’t grow on a rolling stone. It’s a saying I took to heart a long time ago, taking in the idea that I would keep growing and changing. This is a tough thing in life, because although moss won’t grow on a rolling stone, no one mentioned that the stone will continue to accrue miles, need oil changes, different warning lights are going on the dashboard of that rolling stone. The stone is still rolling, with signs that it’s slowing down but bearing some polish, bumps and cracks from the years rolling.

mossRenaissanceMan

I think about these things as I head towards my fiftieth birthday because I’m always trying to consider how to use my time wisely when I come down to my studio each day. I think short term, making short lists, exercising more as I approach that fifty mark, and meditating more. I also plan more long term, with a stack of books I’m writing/illustrating, games I’m developing, a series of landscapes I’m working on and furniture I’m building.

The way I often express my mixed emotions about where to spend my time, is saying “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”. I feel though that Emilie Wapnick who gave a Ted Talk on this subject captures the idea succinctly, she self identifies as a multipotential person. A term I like because it respects the idea that some of us feel drawn to more than one field.

https://www.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling?language=en

One of the problems I run into is that probably like many of my art friends out there, I have a lot of interests – and no short comings of ways to spend my time, from sculpting to painting, to writing.

I have also left the beaten path. I have left behind the safety of having a career in visual effects and a title that ranged from Look Development artist to Digital artist etc. I have to somehow define myself without the safety of a bi-weekly paycheck, movie credits, and an office. This sort of thing undermines some of my self identity because in our culture, perhaps especially for men, we find self identity in our careers.

Although I check things off my life’s bucket list, things keep popping up on the list. I want to play a 12 string guitar I remember from a vivid dream I had last night playing a Taylor dreadnaught that I played in Los Angeles maybe 15 years ago every time I visited McCabe’s Guitars on Pico. It’s a dream that seems to pop up into my consciousness because I always think of guitar playing as a sort of soul toy. Until last night I didn’t even remember the Taylor Dreadnaught and waking from my dream I picked up an iPad and looked it up, there it was that crisp Taylor Dreadnaught.

Worst website ever, best guitar shop.
http://www.mccabes.com

My list keeps growing, partly inspired by my sons who have loads of interests too, and push me to keep my skills up. I want to learn how to weld this year, run a CNC machine, solder electronics better. I want to tackle some great mysteries of life, like WTF those electronic diagrams are all about? I want all these things and yet that stone keeps rolling picking up miles.

WTF-electronics

I know I’m a fortunate man who can use my free time to think about what projects I want to put my time into, but I’m also saying I struggle with that urge to do too many things too. I keep beating myself up, asking why I can’t choose just one thing and wondering if there is something wrong with me. Why did I feel the need to open a jewelry page on Shapeways this month? The urge to take some of the many digital objects I create and make them real overtook me. To me sculpting jewelry is like part of sketching. I make sketches in my art pad while out drawing with my youngest son, and then turn those real in Zbrush. It is one of the most direct paths to creating something and putting it into the real world that I have, sometimes only a matter of hours between design to sculpt as my experience with all the software and drawing over the years has made these things faster for me.

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/daevsdiversion

I think what I’m also talking about is listening to what’s inside. There was a time in my life when I was so unhappy and depressed that I stopped creating artwork. I put away my supplies and thought that my diversions and interests were responsible for my fragmented time and mindset. The problem is I became more unhappy, I became unsure of myself. Locking that creativity away only caused it to swell inside me, like something about to explode.

It came out playfully, and I followed it and since then the demand for me to listen and create has grown. Which is a blessing and a curse as many artists know, but I also think you may know that you don’t have a choice but to listen and follow.

This is not to say that in some field of dreams way, if you follow that dream great things will happen, and you need to build it and yadda-yadda. I think though that building for ourselves is the first step, and we can’t really know if it will be received out in the world, and that too is part of the struggle for artists/writers/musicians and other creatives.

I don’t have any great words of wisdom to comfort people whose work doesn’t get received. Just that i know we need to keep creating, and follow and if we don’t we only suffer all the more.

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