I’m having a show. On March 24, at Poke Community Acupuncture in Vancouver. This is a big deal to me because I have been steadfastly avoiding such things since I graduated from art school in 1998. Since before that, actually. I was an early-bloomer in avoidance techniques. It’ll be a pretty casual affair, and my ambition is to widen the audience for my artwork ever so slightly so you don’t have to be actually at my house to see what I’m doing. Over the next week, I’m preparing the things I’ve selected to show and consciously adopting an anti-perfectionist approach. As in, Don’t Worry About Perfection, Just Get The Stuff Out There. I have a bad habit of holding too tightly onto something, becoming so paralyzed with the desire that it be “just so” that I never really get going with it. It’s not the same thing as laziness. It’s this strange crossroads of behaviors where I tie myself in knots with anxiety, but have very little to show for it. All the stress and none of the reward.
Even in the production of art this approach doesn’t work. I find that if I aim for perfection, then on some level I’m already censoring myself against failure, and that lack of openness prevents anything interesting from happening in the piece. A lot of my favourite pictures have been made with the poorest, most fading and flaking materials, because the openness that comes with having nothing to lose is very freeing. Give me a $20 piece of paper to draw on, or linen rather than cotton canvas, and I am so hyper aware that this Simply Cannot Be A Near-Miss that it plummets right past Near-Miss, landing in the Realm of the Frankly Atrocious. I think the trick for me is not to become convinced of my own imminent success, but to be desensitized to the possibility of failure. Then I’m not bothered by it and I can get on with the work at hand.
So, if you’re in Vancouver, come see the show in person. It will be full of things that fascinate me. And then, 10 days from now, once it’s over, I get to start painting again. Phew.
March 24, 7-10 pm at 225 East Broadway in Vancouver