When the world feels heavy, how do artists keep creating?

Stress from outside seeps into artists’ studios

Artists are not isolated from the rest of humanity, so stress from outside seeps into their studios, negatively affecting the process of creating art and its enjoyment. The role of artists is to create art that captures experiences, evokes emotions, documents events, and initiates conversations in their communities, among other things. Creating art helps them process their experiences, express themselves, and understand their world. Those around them also influence them. Most artists started their creative careers because they found enjoyment and satisfaction in making things with their hands. Sadly, as time passes, the stresses of everyday life can stifle their creativity and joy. As artists become more aware of their artwork, they can become more concerned with money, stress, production, timelines, and more. In other words, current events may make it difficult for them to get into a creative flow. When art careers or outside influences stress artists, how do they find joy in their work? Or, to put it another way, how do they keep creating when the world feels heavy?

Put less pressure on your artwork’s outcome

“Let your dreams outgrow your expectations”-Ryunosuke Satoro.

Most often, artists place too much pressure on the output of their creative pursuits, setting themselves in a position of fear. When art was considered a hobby and something artists did in their spare time, they could accept being beginners. Back then, there were fewer expectations for the finished artwork from them and others.It is more likely for artists to lose sight of their creative potential if they place more expectations on their work, whether it is gaining recognition, an art gallery acceptance, or more social media followers. These anxieties prevent them from being fully present during the flow of their creative process.

Take on your craziest ideas

Let go of the pressure to produce a masterpiece immediately. Instead, start by jotting down a few of your wretched ideas. You can keep those in a notebook after that. To take this one step further, consider sketching or modeling them to see how they would appear if “they weren’t so terrible”.As you work through a half dozen or so ideas, you’ll find that not being a perfectionist is not so scary. Then again, playing at being “bad” might spark one or two ideas.

Create art for someone in particular

Do you remember when you gave someone something that made them genuinely smile? Feel that joy for a moment. Having access to this feeling cannot only improve your happiness but also help you create more fun in your practice. Next time you work on a project, think of a time when your creativity made someone happy. By doing this, you cultivate a feeling of joy in the process.You can also imagine who you might be creating the work for. Try answering these questions: How are they feeling? What can you tell them about a story? Have they had an experience or a story that reaches beyond the ordinary? Be inspired by what they love or shape them. Taking the pressure off your creativity will help you focus on what makes the other person happy or fulfilled. 

When things get stressful, first take care of yourself

Feeling these things creep in? Take a break, make some tea, walk, speak to a friend or other artists, or sit quietly for a few minutes to contemplate. You can focus better on self-care if you are not tethered to your phone 24 hours a day. Instead, try to figure out why you are unsatisfied with your work. For example, why do you feel it is not good enough? Or do you think your next painting will fail? Working through your feelings about your painting and its relationship to outside events is more accessible without extraneous noise. First, pause when you feel fear, disappointment, stress, or anxiety. Then, take some time to relax. Consider any patterns that occur when you think about these things for a few minutes. These patterns will continue to impede your creativity and joy if you do not stop them. 

Connect with other creatives

Through difficult times, artists turn to the arts for solace. Artists use art to capture and process more than just their own experiences. Making art allows artists to document the world around them and explore how they are a part of it. How would we feel if we didn’t have the opportunity to engage with art? For their creations to last across generations, artists must exhibit and share their work. Art benefits us personally and socially in countless ways. By looking at art, we are reminded that we are not alone and that we share complex experiences no matter where we live. Together, people can process emotions, form connections, and influence change through art. Accordingly, we need artists to continue making art even during tough times. 

At ArtKoti, we provide artists with a creative space where they can express themselves. Art comes alive here, ideas flow, conversations happen, creativity takes off, and joy is reflected in their work. As a community, we strive to create a culture that inspires, enjoys, and brings artists together.