Updated: May 9, 2020
Hi! I'm Danny. I'm a metalsmith by degree, but more importantly I'm an artist.
I say 'artist' specifically because I always get so hard on myself when making art and being creative. I tell myself that it needs to be jewelry. If I'm not making jewelry, I am wasting my degree. I enjoy making jewelry, after all I did spend a lot of money for four and a half years to learn to make jewelry. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't have made it that far.
But recently I have been getting stuck in a rutt, I have been wanting to do something different. I have been playing around with different materials, like wood, plastics, and recycled bits. I have been looking at ways to use my skills to make art that is not necessarily jewelry. If I am using the skills I learned, then I'm not wasting my degree! Right?
Has this been fun? Yes. Has this been productive? Sorta, I have been coming up with a lot of different and fun ideas and trying a lot of new things, but there hasn't really been much in terms of a final product.
Is that a bad thing?
Well, my head tells me Yes, but my heart says No.
I see it this way, I feel like I create in a profession where my art is meant to be sold, so sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time when I don't produce a product. I forget the passion of making art for the enjoyment of making art. I solely go into the studio to make work to sell. I start to work and have my eyes so locked on the finish line that I don't let myself play around and enjoy myself. That right there is why I am getting stuck in this rutt. I am burning myself out because I'm not having any fun.
I take myself and my art too seriously.
It's that simple. I feel so locked into this title of 'Metal Smith' that I view myself as a worker and not an Artist.
What I need to do is let loose and have fun in the studio! Remember the times as a kid when I had limited materials so I made something new from what I had. The times as a kid when I would be so happy to grab construction paper, stickers and makers and make a book. I was a creative kid, that's the Danny I need to channel today. In high school I built a pirate ship with nothing but twigs and hot glue, who says I can't do that again! That's the Artist inside me, that is where I start to see my creative passion. That pirate ship is in my living room, and I look at it everyday. To this day it is still one my favorite things I have ever made. It reminds me that I can play and have fun and still make something amazing.
BUT Danny, you can't sell pirate ships. Pirate ships don't use any of your skills from college. I hear those words in my head and my heart drops again. I get bummed out and go back to punching discs, cutting tubes and making earrings, because tubes sell. Thus the cycle starts over and I'm back in my rutt. I know you're expecting to get to the part where I talk about how I overcame these feelings and everything was happily ever after. Unfortunately you're not going to find it, I'm not there yet. This is a constant struggle, it's annoying. That's one of the reasons I decided to start a blog about my art, it's a way to put my thoughts into the world instead of keeping them bottled up in my head. When thoughts are put into words it brings a bit of clarity.
What I am trying to get at here, is that schooling and getting a degree do not make you an
Artist. Being an Artist is not learned, it is something that is etched into your heart from the beginning and it will always be a part of you. Now, being a metal smith, that was learned. It is sort of an ever open tab in the folder of my artist mind. It supports my art and it influences my art, but it does not have to be my only form of art. When it does, that is when I'm pulling myself away from the Artist in my heart.
So have fun! Make mistakes! Play in the studio! Most importantly, don't be too hard on yourself. Don't let yourself get to the point where making art is a chore. I've been there and it sucks.
Thanks for taking the time and reading this, I'm going leave you with this, when you're feeling burned out my your art...
...Think of the pirate ship.