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Photo Credit: Jeremy Holder · The Sentry

Not Quite

So, I got a pretty poor grade on a portfolio assignment this week. It’s mostly my fault for not finishing it; I haven’t concentrated on it as much as I should have between other classes’ assignments and old hard drives crashing. The crashing hard drives complicate it, of course, but I also want to completely redesign old work that’s going into it. That old stuff is a little embarrassing and not really up to portfolio levels… I want it to be perfect.

I’m struggling because there’s a lot of stuff I plain old don’t know how to do, and I also hate feeling like I don’t know what I don’t know.

That’s the downside of art programs, as opposed to a science or math program where the “right answer” is really clear; art might have some reasons of technique that explain why the piece could be better, but a lot of it is just the feeling that it doesn’t quite hit the mark. But that not-quite-there feeling can drive us to keep going, rather than stopping when it’s easy.

So what do you do when you’ve had a setback with your work? It’s made more difficult by the fact that art is a reflection of who we are. And no matter how much we concentrate on technique and evolution, there’s always a tiny piece that says, “It’s not good enough, and that means I’m not good enough.” You tell that voice to shut up because it’s wrong.

No artist has ever not made bad art; art is a process, and we learn through doing. Every human is enough in themselves to be creative. And then you get some tacos and make yourself do work on it, so you don’t become afraid of it.

I pretty much have to keep trying, because in design land, one’s portfolio is what gets (or doesn’t get) jobs, but I will anyway because I’m not happy with it yet.

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