Ep 75 Featured Image Podcast

You Are Not Your Art – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 75

March 29, 2023


Separating the artists from the art we make is an essential and challenging part of the art-making journey. We have the tendency to believe that we are what we make. And in a lot of ways, that needs to be true. You can’t make unique and personal art without yourself as the key ingredient. However, if you have a white-knuckled attachment to your art it is impossible to make something like yourself. It will only ever be the clean, uncomplicated version of you that is forced and inauthentic. Join me as I share the benefits of objectivity in your art practice and practical steps you can take to gain much-needed perspective for your work.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Creating objectivity in your art practice [2:31]
  • Increasing the speed of learning and change [8:34]
  • Expanding your art [18:05]

The power of objectivity

Human emotions are like the weather. Obviously, we don’t like experiencing rain when we want sunshine, but there’s nothing we can do to control it. We simply have to embrace the storm and let it pass. It’s the same for our emotions. If we’re constantly trying to avoid the feelings our mind and body are processing, we’ll end up stuck. You have to let go of the limiting beliefs and the things your bad high school art teacher told you. Just because you aren’t currently seeing the results you’re after doesn’t mean you never will. Holding things more loosely allows us to gain perspective and see our art for what it really is. And that it is NOT us. You are not your art. Your art is just the thing you are making right now.

You are here

Have you ever gotten lost at a mall? Maybe you spent too long looking for a store only to find a big glowing map with a bright red dot that says YOU ARE HERE. The feeling of relief rushes through you as you reorient yourself and prepare for the journey ahead. This is exactly what it’s like to gain objectivity in your art practice. It allows you to separate yourself from the overwhelming pressure to find yourself and your art in a single painting and realize that you are on a journey. And when you commit to that journey, the destination is inevitable. We have to think of art-making as a process. It’s about becoming and not necessarily what’s on your canvas right now. Healthy creative mindsets are developed when we judge our art based on the practice and take the emphasis off of what we make.

Borrowing perspective

I love watching the Oscars because it’s a joy seeing so many creatives get recognition for the work they do. Especially interesting, is the utter shock most of them display when they win. Their speeches are filled with accolades for others and acknowledgment of the shoulders they’ve been allowed to stand on. I don’t think the source of these sentiments is humility, although I’m not implying arrogance. I just think it’s true. I don’t think we can be our best selves alone. Our art isn’t as good when we make it in a silo. If you are the only one looking at and critiquing your work, you are limiting your perspective. If you allow other people to be part of your experience, sometimes they can mirror things back to you that you never thought were possible with your art.

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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