Failure is not an option, but unfortunately, failure is a daily occurrence in the life of an artist. Throughout our lives and especially in the modern American society of succesories motivational posters, and corporate tag lines, we are told and taught that “failure is not an option”. This is so ingrained in our culture that creative types routinely will pass up the opportunity to create for fear of rejection, failure, or possibly even worse….the beginning of what will ultimately become the eternal project. The eternal project is one that is “never complete” in the artists eyes and is perpetually under construction to anyone who might ask. This project ends up in the back of the closet or maybe as decorative landfill, never given the opportunity to stand on its own, be critiqued, and share its message. Unfortunately there is no museum for unfinished art, library for half written books, and music stores selling incomplete albums and songs. There are only idea cemeteries filled with masterpieces killed by the fears of failure and the subjugation of an imaginary critic. So how as an artist do you overcome this fear of failure? The simple answer, embrace it! I embrace failure to the point of making it a necessary step in the road to the completed project. I prepare for it, I plan around it, openly talk about it, and in the process create hypothetical doomsday scenarios with contingency plans for every aspect of the project. I find that the catastrophic scenarios my imagination can dream up always pale in comparison to the real world events that I am presented with. I find that by embracing failure I actually defeat it.
Like every artist at every skill level, I am always challenged by the internal voices questioning every decision, technique, brush stroke, and concept. I personally choose to stifle these voices by embracing the simple fact that I can never create a perfect piece of artwork, but merely create compositions of the best mistakes that I can make at that time.
Admittedly this is my internal process that works for me, and you will have to develop your own. I do however believe that if an artist can not handle failure, then ultimately they will give into fear. Fear will keep you in your place, fear will suppress your creative endeavors and your art will become a passing thought, and that eternal project will always be there, unfinished, as a constant reminder that failure, whether you like it or not, is a daily occurrence.