Is having more than one skillset a good thing or bad?

You can do anything, but not everything.

David Allen, Lifehacker

When I started my art practice in 2013, I wanted to try it all: painting, mixed media, collage, printmaking, modern, abstract, realism, you name it. I was not satisfied with sticking to just one medium or style. I guess it was my way to trying to find out what I was good at and where I can focus. Funny thing was, I liked all of them; I was unable to choose or settle down. I can blame my unchecked ADD for that. From then on I dabbled at every art and craft that piqued my interest spending dough after dough getting all the necessary supplies and how-to books to learn how to use them. At one point I began calling myself the Jack-Of-All-Trades-Master-Of-None Artist. Here is a list of all the crafts I have accumulated to date.

At the time it seemed like a good idea to know more than one technique or skill as an artist. And I had a blast at it. But later I learned the quirks of having too many things to do at once.

For one, there is no Time. I wake up, wash up, eat, run errands, take a rest, work on my stuff, and in a blink of an eye the day’s already over. Some days I just feel like a sloth and veg out on the sofa for half the day. I had crammed in my little cranium of all the things I want to complete-new bodies of work, an artbook, video series, an Etsy shop, etc. But Time just goes by so fast. And I go to bed every night feeling dejected because I didn’t accomplish what I had set out to do. Though the very next morning I open my eyes I’d be refreshed with renewed hope of getting things done, only to repeat the same thing. It’s almost like the movie Edge of Tomorrow where each day is set on continuous loop of the same old routine: get up, suit up, go into battle, get killed, back to start. Keep that up and it eventually becomes draining, physically and mentally.

For this reason, at the beginning of 2019 I made it a goal to set schedules for my activities. I had decided to make at least three days a week a “studio day” or “me day” so I would have several hours of uninterrupted time for myself to do the things I want to do. Then I set up certain days/weeks/months for certain project and so forth. Instead of trying to cram several different projects to complete in one day I would spread it out designating what days or weeks I would specifically work on that particular project. I even got myself a daily planner to write it all down, something I was never good at. In doing so I felt like I was more disciplined and organized, a load of rocks lifted off my shoulders and I was more relaxed. I couldn’t believe it took me this long to realize the benefits of planning and keeping schedules; always working out of chaos might sound thrilling but eventually it catches up to you physically and mentally.

But alas I forgot the one other thing to consider when making plans. Which is to always expect the unexpected. But that’s another story…

A Biopic of One Girl’s Quest to Be Accepted into the Art World…
(Disclaimer: NOT a real movie, but I’m sure you’ve figured that out already…)

Have you noticed the tagline that follows my brand, Just a Girl with Mental Problems who happen to draw.

I once watched a movie by the great elusive Banksy “Exit Through the Gift Shop” which follows an eccentric arts aficionado Thierry Guetta (sometimes going by the moniker Mr. Brainwash) who, armed with a camcorder, explores the underground street art scene and crosses paths with prominent artists, one of whom is Banksy.  When Thierry undertakes the task of making a documentary based on the footages he had captured, the end result puzzles Banksy greatly, on which he quotes, “… it was at that point that I realized that maybe Thierry wasn’t actually a film maker, and he was maybe just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera.” In some ways I identified myself with the eccentric “Mr. Brainwash” who no doubt loves art with passion but is terribly misunderstood by even the pros.

Now I’ve never been officially diagnosed with any particular mental condition, but I do know I bear many characteristics of ADHD and autism.  And to date I’m on meds for depression. So in a sense I am mentally challenged…and I love to draw and paint.  

But does it justify the fact that I am an Artist?  I wonder about that pretty often.  (Here is An old post about what in my opinion Art is)

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember when I started holding a pencil in my hand and scribbled on paper.  I even remember how I got severely reprimanded by my mother for pouring a bowl of water over a TV and ruining it (I still haven’t figured it out why I did that.)  In school I was labeled the class artist, and I got in trouble a lot for doodling away instead of listening to the day’s lessons. It was in junior high that I actually started a formal private training in art, but I ended up driving the instructor nuts with my inability to listen and concentrate (guess I did have ADHD after all).  Then around high school I started drifting away from art and dabbled in other interests that had nothing to do with art. Middle of college was when I really took a dive and almost totally gave up on art, like I did not care for it as I did before. My mental state was in haywire as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  It would take many more years after college before I FINALLY got a grip and started driving in the right direction again.  (For more in-depth about this story you can read this old post here)

So while in the midst of reinventing myself and setting up for a full-time lifelong journey as an artist the quote from the movie popped into my head. And I made it my life’s tagline. The more I think about it the more it suits me. Emotionally and mentally I’m as unstable as a hot pot of boiling water. While I am trying to really get my $#!@ together at the same time I relish in my unstableness and accepting it as a blessing in disguise. I’m still not considering myself a pro yet, even though I have taken that next step into introducing myself to the world on line and off line. I don’t know how long it will be before I get that official acknowledgement of being accepted into the hall of pros, only time will tell. In the meantime I will continue making art and present myself as that girl with mental problems who happens to draw…

Recommended read: Creativity and Depression from Patsy’s Creative Corner.

MAHo, he official mascot of the Artist as LISA LEE.

Man I’ve left my blog hanging dry for too long…what happened?

…Reflect

I started this blog in 2013, the same year I decided to take up art as a full time endeavor, as a way to document my artwork, ideas, and process. For a while I was on a roll-making art, experimenting with different styles techniques and medium, and then blog about it. Sometimes I’d find other subjects to blog about, while remaining true to my original vision to relate it to my art making process. Then I went about promoting my blog and my art branching out to various social media and even entering some local shows to get myself out there.

I think that’s where it started going downhill.

As I would learn self promotion is a lot of work, especially when I’m doing it all myself. No hired help, I was too poor for that. I naively thought I could handle it well and while I won’t expect to get a million followers at least I would get enough exposure in and out of the net to get the recognition as a serious artist.

It ended up consuming most of my life as I feverishly posted my stuff on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube -just about all the social media platforms I knew. I even searched and entered several small local shows to put myself out there in real life instead of just the web. Along the way seeing such dismal performances of my hard work further drained my energy. On top of it all I was constantly adding stuff to my To Do List and trying to make as much time and space possible to get them done…

…Refresh

So 2020 comes and I’ve set it in stone to really declutter and reorganize my life, my duties, and my sanity. I started up on an old hobby of mine-gaming-to clear my brain and distract away from the messiness I’ve unwittingly put myself in and pushed myself to slow down. I’ve also not had really made new bodies of work as I had begun narrowing down my field of interests and subjects to really focus on. Then I did what I’ve often go on and off at- planning and scheduling. I set the days that I would focus on my work, set aside what projects I would complete for what month and so forth. Most of all I would revive this blog from its long hibernation. I had posted few tidbits from time to time, just not at the rate I used to prior to end of 2018. I’m currently relearning from time to time through the web about revamping my blog as well promotion and marketing properly and effectively.

…Reboot

And so it begins today that I post my first real blog post in the longest time. I have reset my site to a blog format instead of a static art gallery site. I decided I could blog about my past experiences and the things I’ve learned from the highlights and the pitfalls of my endeavors. And of course I will continue to document my art and process, which had been the reason I even started this blog in the first place. I will even go in-depth into each of the three R’s I’ve addressed here, as there is so much I could write about, but do not want to cram it all into one single post. It would be better to spread it out into separate posts so it could have more flair and substance.

And lastly I want to introduce my “official” blog mascot, MAHo! (You can see her at the top of this post) Expect to see her in many of my future posts. And of course I will talk about her history (or should it be herstory).

Have a great week everyone!

And here it is, my first selfie of 2020

Acrylic on 8×10 canvas. The image was actually taken from the series of selfies I did back in 2017 when I partook in the 30 Days of Selfie Challenge (not really an official event, I made that up myself). And also I was kinda thinking about that recent film adaptation of the Broadway classic CATS ( which as expected bombed hard at the b.o. I always knew it wouldn’t translate well on screen). I think I might do another 30 Day Challenge this year to commemorate th start of a new decade. Stay tuned…

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