Time for another one!
This week I’m reminded of a song lyric that my friend Greg Frontiero put in my mind:
“We can be the bands we want to hear”
I think that the lyric originated from punk rock band called Against Me! but I originally heard Greg quote it in a podcast with Paul Lecrone.
I’ve spent my whole life considering myself a creative and artistic person while being totally mystified by the process of creating things.
I spent years playing and creating music as a musician; daydreaming about making records and playing shows but never actually doing it. I’ve done something similar with my writing. I’ll dream of creating a blog full of depth and value, being a successful writer, and maybe even writing a book. But in retrospect, I’ve never had a real actionable thought on how I could make these things a reality.
As a consumer I’ve developed opinions on my craft. I know what type of music I like to listen to. I know what type of writing keeps me entertained and curious.
I have my opinion on what “good” music or “good” writing is.
But for some reason, there’s a disconnect between these opinions and what I strive to create.
It’s not that I don’t want to create what I would like to consume. It’s that I don’t think I have the capability to create what I would like to consume.
I dream of doing all these things with my creative pursuits but dismiss my current action because I’m not quite “good” enough, “skilled” enough, or “talented” enough to bring my ambitions justice. Unfortunately, this dismissal usually leads to eventual inaction, which ends the life of the ambition completely (the ultimate injustice).
Recently, I’ve been devoting myself to a somewhat new ambition. I’ve been designing and illustrating (sometimes for money, mostly just for myself and fun) everyday for a few months now and I’m ready to take another step forward with my pursuit.
I would like to open up a shop with some of my prints and make freelance opportunities and commissions more accessible to potential clients.
This, of course, is terrifying to me because I revert back to my classic way of telling myself that I’m “not quite there yet.”
I knew I had to push myself past this and find a way to build some confidence. I had to show myself I was more capable than I gave myself credit.
So I took a swing at creating something that I knew that I, myself, would love to consume.
I’ve always been in love with those movie poster style illustrations of the national parks (like these):
I’ve always used these as phone backgrounds and I even have a few hanging up in my home. I knew that there was value in them because I value them myself.
But I was always afraid to try my hand at making them myself because I knew that what I would create wouldn’t quite live up to the expectations I had in my head from other artists.
But that’s because I was always expecting myself to be able to create in THEIR style, not my own. You don’t take a fish out of water and expect him to beat a monkey in a foot race, why would I expect myself to create in someone else’s comfort zone?
In the end, the value I found in these pieces of art wasn’t solely the style, it was the subject. It was the natural beauty being captured by an individual’s personal perspective and recommunicated out in their own style. The goal wasn’t to recreate what someone else had already done, it was to take that subject (that natural beauty), and communicate it with MY OWN new style.
So I took a stab at it.
At the end of the day, I’m never going to be able to create somebody else’s art and that’s okay. I can still create the same kind of things as them - things similar to what I enjoy - but they’re going to come out with my own twist.
We don’t want to make a bunch of cookie cutter recreations of things that have already been done before. We want to make something fresh, something the world has never seen before.
So, go ahead. Strive to be the bands that you want to hear. There’s nothing wrong with that…just don’t expect to sound exactly like them.
Sound like yourself.
This week I made an Instagram account to house some of my new design pursuits and update a daily log of my works. If that’s something you’re into, find the info here:
For the rest of you who get enough of my BS just from reading this newsletter once a week…here’s a few of my animal doodles from last week.
As always, replies to this email are always open. If you have anything to add, comment upon, share (or if you just want to tell me to shut up), please shoot me a reply. I love to hear from you.
I hope you have a wonderful week.