I decided to take on a bit of a personal artistic challenge this year. I'm not usually one to participate in artistic challenges or self imposed deadlined projects. I don't have anything against them, or the people that do them (I absolutely believe that quantity produces quality). It's more of a self preservation thing. I don't participate in artistic challenges out of fear that I don't have the follow through to complete them, and to be honest I don't want to feel disappointed in myself.
In fact, the amount of energy I expend in avoiding personal disappointment is staggering, as I'm sure it is for a lot of us. I'm not what you would call a pessimistic person, on the contrary, I would say that I am ruthlessly upbeat. However, the thought of failure, of disappointing myself and those around me, often leads me to turn down opportunities, and shy away from challenges that, at the very least, could be invaluable learning opportunities. I have dropped the ball on potential projects, failed to follow through on opportunities, and excused myself from participating in situations that challenge me as an artist, and as a person, all out of fear of disappointment.
Seriously. Fuck. That. Shit.
In an effort to embrace failure, fear, and disappointment of all shades, I have decided to challenge myself to complete a project I have been wanting to do for a while. Throughout the year I will be creating a killer hand cut paper alphabet. I'm setting no deadlines. I'm making no promises, to you, or to myself, that it will be amazing, or groundbreaking, or the best work I have ever done. All I pledge is to do the damn thing, and write about it here.
A is for Aaarrrggghhh...
My first letter ended up being an exercise in disappointment right off the bat. When you are working with cut paper, there is no ctrl+z, and you have to just go with the mistakes you make (and make them look intentional!). Well, I made a lot of mistakes on this attempt and ended up taking away MUCH more paper than I intended. It was sort of like a high school self administered haircut. You know it's a bad idea but you JUST CAN'T STOP YOURSELF FROM CUTTING!
It's not what I set out to create, but that's okay, and in an unintentional way, some of the mistakes I made actually made it more interesting. Most importantly, I remembered how much I LOVE cutting paper. How delicate and meditative the process is. How the parameters set by the medium require a different way of thinking about lines, curves, and image. And how the final result, even if it's a little disappointing, still is soooo. fucking. awesome.