• Nathan Allen

Artist Dilemma: When to stop!

Coco Chanel said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

I keep this in mind when I'm creating. I have a habit of going too far, too fast.

The love of my life has been teaching me how to improve my creative process. I didn't realize I needed a process, and rules to follow when creating. I used to dive right in and work until I was done. At least I thought I was done.

Part of our process is his review of my 'finished' work. Of course I put finished in quotes because when are we ever really finished? What I have taken from his feedback is that normally I am finished before I stop working. If I had just really looked at the piece and removed an element, I would have seen that less really is more.

This week, my love left to take care of his family. It's hard for me not having him here, but he is still available when I need him. And he did leave me a laundry list of projects I need to complete.

I found today that many of my projects this week involve changing previous works or modifying them to create new product. My ego has a hard time with accepting that maybe a product or a piece wasn't successful. The thought of altering or even destroying a piece as it stands makes my stomach turn. But the silver lining this week has been learning that maybe I didn't know when to stop. Maybe I stopped too early on some pieces.

I have several shows coming up very soon. I'm looking forward to seeing how people respond to my new collection. And just as excited to see how people respond to my new products using older pieces.

I guess I still struggle with when to stop. I suppose I always will. I suppose all artists have this struggle. But as long as I remember Coco, I will look at the piece and see if I need to remove something.

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