How To Be An Artist

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This is a question I’ve asked myself a lot and just couldn’t quite figure out.

The world of art can feel so impenetrable. I always loved the idea of being an artist, spending my days painting and making stuff, and living out all my magical creative dreams. But how could I make that happen?

People get pretty sketchy around the word “artist” (pun totally intended). The terminology, and the art world at large, can be grossly elitist. After all, it’s people paying a fair bit of money for pure beauty. We don’t need art. It’s brilliant and it’s magic and it sets my heart on fire, but art is a complete luxury. And, maybe even more than money, art is a luxury of time. Art can only really be practiced by those who have time (or those who diligently make time) and, haven’t you heard? – time is money. So, art is this thing for the rich. Art is a luxury to be attained and pursued. We don’t need art but we want it. Oh, how we want it.

I didn’t go to art school. I thought about it. A lot. I still do. I’ve imagine alternate lives where I spent days in the studio instead of the labs. I think about how far along I’d be with my art practice now and how my life could be different. But mostly, the reasons I wish I’d have gone to art school comes down to the literal time that I would have spent deeply immersed in art.

Sure, people told me that I shouldn’t go to art school but they are not to be blamed. I was the one who listened. For whatever reason I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t brave enough to simply listen to my own wants and desires.

I think I might be ready now. I think that now I’m ready to commit to making art. I mean, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making art but it’s been largely passive. It’s been bound to stuff I was making to make money. It’s been art where I was a bit distant from the subject because I kept thinking “I’m not a real artist, I didn’t study art, so I don’t know how to do it like that.”

For the past few months I’ve just been making. I’ve painted more this year than in the rest of my life combined. I’ve been completely content with my gaze at the end of a paintbrush for hours and hours and I’ve been entirely enraged that my skills aren’t up to the level I want them to be just yet. But I’m getting better. Everything I paint is better than the last. As these paintings are coming together and I take a step back, from what’s been inches from my face for so long, I feel so very proud of myself.

Something that feels really truly lovely is that with everything I create, I’ve been feeling more and more like myself. Isn’t that amazing? I feel like I’m re-aligning myself to who I am and I’ve never have it feel so obvious and literal. It’s pretty surreal. It’s like looking through old photographs and recognising yourself, except the photographs are brand new and happening all around me.

Here’s the thing:

I didn’t study art professionally. I don’t have an expansive portfolio or even much history of work I’ve made. But then, isn’t that the problem? I wasn’t classing myself as an artist because I wasn’t making art. I wanted the title but wasn’t even working towards it!

I remember a few years ago my nephew introduced me to his friends as his “aunt, the artist.” It is, to this very day, the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. As a kid, he didn’t need to see my CV to see me as an artist. He just saw me making art. It’s that simple.

So, make your art. Pour your heart and your soul into it. Wake up early and go to bed late. Commit to a life of paint stained hands and clothes, an obsession with fonts, and a constant stream of ideas that it is your absolute right and purpose to put into fruition.

So, you want to know how to become an artist?

Make art.

Fucking do it.

Gabi

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5 Reasons Why I Stopped Blogging For 2 Years

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Over the past two years my blog has been a disjointed series of apology posts and promises to myself to start again and get in the flow.

So I’d get amped up, write excited lists and get deeply involved with Pinterest and Instagram. Then the time would somehow quickly pass between posts. I’d post once or twice then never again for a few months before inspiration started to twinkle again and I’d feel the familiar influx of ideas. This cycle and been going on and on for 2 years now and this could just be another chapter of that or this could be me publicly stating that I want to make shit happen and I will.

In an attempt to start on a different track I’m gonna hone in, look my shortcomings in their squinty little eyes, and call bullshit on myself.

Here are the 5 reasons why I stopped blogging for 2 entire years:

1. Life.

Ahhh life man. So, I moved from the Gold Coast, Australia (Goldie, mate!) all the way to London. I brought with me 2 bulging suitcases and I knew one person here. I totally flipped the switch on my entire world, leaving my routine, shop workspace, and way of life behind to form a completely new one. This took away any form of routine I’d had and allowed me to create a new one and I didn’t make blogging a part of that.

2. Living.

Now this is to say that this new form of life is by no means a hindrance. I am so pleased with my past self for being so brave and allowing me the freedom to create a life for myself here. I am surrounded by more love than I can ever imagine, I live in a city I love with a home, and a job, and these friends, and so much goodness and i’ve just been soaking it all up. There’s been so much newness in my life that figuring out how to be online simply hasn’t been a priority for me. 

3. Slothing.

London is freaking expensive and a girl has gotta pay her rent. I work a 9 to 5 for the first time in my life and that, alongside having a life and my Netflix schedule, is pretty draining. I’ll have every intention to work on this growing list of projects when I get home but then I’ll go out after work or my bed will look deliciously cosy and i’ll accidentally fall into an hour long nap followed by eating all the foods and re-watcing The Office. Most of the time, though, I’ll be watching videos or reading articles about the things that I want to do which bring me to my next point…

4. Overwhelm.

There is just sooooo much. I refer to this clearly lazy part of my life as my hibernation. I’ve been piecing together all these ideas and plans and knowing that one day I’ll bring them into fruition. But do you know how overwhelming that is? Letting everything build up has brought me to the point where I feel almost immobilised by the amount of work I want to be doing. I’ve had no where I should begin so I haven’t! when you’re consuming so much there is little space left to create and the thoughts and ideas gets built up, where they could be combining and crystallising, but, more often than not, they’ll get flooded out by the constant stream of scrolling.

5. Feeling Gross.

This is a chicken and the egg kind of situation. I’ve been going through some sucky patches of not feeling so great about myself. It’s not at all self-hate but it’s definitely not self-love. One minute I’ll be straight up feelin’ myself and then i’ll just constantly be rolling my eyes at the unproductive sea urchin I’m allowing myself to become. Now, because I’m mad at myself for not being active with my passions and my dreams, I’ve been feeling crap about my ability to make anything of value which has made me give up almost entirely. It goes round and round and is so very boring!

None of these reasons are all-encompassing. None explain why I simply had to quit or I had to take a break or stop working on something that I do really love. That makes me kick myself because it’s 100% me and not circumstance, however, this means that I can 100% fix this shit. I can start making again, just like that.

The moral of the story, my sweet honey bees, is that it simply does not matter if you stopped, or why, or how long ago, or even if you never started.

All we ever have is now. So do now what ever it may be that makes you happy or makes your heart sing.

Do the stuff that makes you feel like a boss and do it for yourself.

For the most part these 5 reasons have been lifestyle based. They’re ways to hold myself responsible for why I haven’t made the time or effort to blog but there’s a much larger reason as to why these even accumulated: I didn’t have a purpose to blog. 

When something requires time and effort, which blogging definitely does, you need to have a drive behind it that forces you to get to work. I didn’t have that. I lost the point to why I was blogging. I lost interest with running a typical lifestyle blog and I lost interest with the kind of work I was creating. So why bother? With no motive and only a loose target to “keep blogging” there isn’t much hope.

Right now, the reason I’m writing this post and the reason I’ve been scribbling ideas in notepads, on my phone, and countless text documents, is because I’m getting really close to figuring out exactly what it is I want to be talking about.

So, you want to blog? You want to commit to creating and producing and putting stuff out there? Well, just figure out what it is you want (need) to put out there and it will flow. You won’t struggle for ideas, you’ll struggle with too many ideas, which is a lovely problem to have.

Figure out your why, my pretties.

Gabi

x

CURRENTLY: Paint all night, Paint all day

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Damn son. What it do?

I’ve been painting heaps lately. Like the kind of painting where 4 hours go by and I realise I’ve been in this magical meditative state of paint dabbing. Then I’ll do the kind of work that feels really fucking frustrating. I wanna do it but I feel mad that my skills aren’t quite where I want and need them to be so it’s the madness of wanting to do it and improve all while internally screaming that it’s not blending just quite right.

Ideas get me high. Really and truly. You know that rush of inspiration that leads to pages of scribbles and keeps me up all night. I’m addicted to it. The more the have it, the more you need it and the more your mind manufactures it.

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I’ve been reading lots. Books on creating. Books on spirituality. Books on getting shit done. I’ll suck it all up and let it bathe together. I feel like my hibernation has well and truly come to an end and all the energy I’ve been saving and the idea I’ve accumulated are coming to a head in this really magical way.

Over the last month or so I’ve painted more than in the rest of my life combined. The practice is starting to pay off because every piece is an improvement and I’m getting closer to creating what I want to and the images I produce are getting closer and closer to the fuzzy dreams they start as in my mind.

I don’t really know what my aim is with this and I think that’s the point. I’m creating this stuff because I have to; because it makes me feel good and I need to make the thoughts into things to value them and make room for more.

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Snapchats been good for posting little WIP snippets, selfies with dog ears, and pictures of my neighbourhood cats (I’m pixieandpixier, duh). The doodle option is my fave.

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Ok, so I guess this has been an update. In summation, I’m making stuff and it feels good.

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Gabi

xx

25 B4 25: An Adventure in Making Art & Blatantly Ignoring Deadlines

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A few weeks ago I set myself a big, scary, and exciting goal: I will start, and finish, 25 pieces of art all before I turn 25.

There was a little less than a month. It was bold but I could do it. I bought a bunch of new brushes and canvases, and stocked up on my favourite tubes of acrylic.

I’ve been painting, steadily and definitely more, but now there are 10 days until I turn 25 and I’ve only finished one piece.

I should be shitting bricks. I should be staying up all night painting but I’m not, yet. Steady feels good. I’m making more time and I’m getting there.

Over the next fews day I plan to knuckle down and finish these stacks of canvases and make shapes on a whole lot of other stuff that is just a distant idea at the minute.

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Follow along on Instagram and Snapchat for more updates: @pixieandpixier (and constant food updates).

Gabi

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