Art work-life balance is just like work-life balance. It's an easy oversight when you make your own hours, but none of us can escape this necessity.A few months ago I made a decision that was counter-intuitive but ended up being the one of the best high-risk decisions I have made in my art career thus far. I made the choice to go away for three days despite that fact that I would only have just over a week to complete a small series of work intended for an upcoming exhibition.
It's not as though I didn't feel pressure. I felt pressure! I also wasn't sure about the new work I was making. It was a new direction in colour. It wasn't a safe place for me creatively. I felt guilty about my decision but once I had made it I went out of town and chose not to think about it anymore until I returned. It was a relaxing few days.
It wasn't until we drove into back into the Vancouver city limits that I felt that pressure begin to creep back into my mind. The next day in the studio I was completely focussed. I work with clarity and persistence. I created new work that (not to toot my own horn) blew me away. I was utterly astonished at what I accomplished and sold two pieces almost immediately. The response to the new work was incredible. I feel that there is no way I would have made this work if I had stayed in town and tried to push through to my deadline. Here is one of the pieces I created at this time:
This experience proved something to me. It was better to acknowledge my creative and general exhaustion and walk away for a while. Resting my body and mind and enjoying the company of good friends away from the bustle of the city had an amazing effect. I want to encourage you to assert an art work-life balance. When you rest, you need to rest completely. You can't half-ass it. Just like when you are working- you have to be 100% present. In my mind you simply can't have work without rest. I intend to keep this habit as my not-so-secret weapon. Please take the time to do this for yourself whenever you can - even in the face of deadlines. Even in the face of pressure to create new and challenging work. In order to create new and challenging work.