“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play”
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
My poor coworkers patiently endured my quarter life crisis (aka my twenties). During that time, I was dumped by my fiancé right before our wedding, I moved apartments an average of twice a year, and I suffered form a severe case of self-hatred and self-doubt. I also kind of hated waiting tables, which didn’t always make for a pleasant work attitude. I don’t like to admit that I was pretty unhappy.
The real problem was that I was an artist who didn’t produce very much art. I was unable to tap into my creativity. I feared I had no imagination and had nothing to say.
Despite my mental and emotional problems, we all really enjoyed our time working together at the wine bar. Things were out of hand most of the time. I can’t imagine what customers must have thought of us. We gave each other a nightly shoulder massage (our boss included), scavenged scraps of farm-to-table food from the kitchen (every restaurant these days is farm-to-table), sat down with the regular customers, danced, cried, argued, and took way too many smoking breaks.
At the end of every night, our boss would subject us to strange American standards from the 60’s like My Bathroom is a Private Kind of Place and sappy tear-jerkers from the 70’s like Send in the Clowns.
One evening, at the end of my shift, I was sitting at the bar doing the close out and counting our tips, when I found myself with a serious urge to doodle something obscene. So, I utilized the only art supplies I had at the time – a tip envelope, and one of the few pens that wasn’t swiped by some thieving customer.
The first thing I drew was a naked woman roller skating, while being propelled through the air by a presumably noxious fart, with an abundance of breast milk spraying from her nipples, and a sassy turd left in her wake. I’m pretty sure the idea came from a combination of a conversation I had with my boss about making cheese from breast milk, my friend B flashing me her pubes during a girly bathroom rendezvous, and odd memories from childhood supplied directly from my subconscious.
I continued doodling every night, until it occurred to me that these weren’t just doodles. They were masterpieces. I was meant to draw boobs, bush, farts, breast milk, and poop. Is it juvenile and repulsive? Yes! Is it lady-like and feminine? Absolutely not. Is there a deeper message that I want my audience to grasp? Mmmm, I’ll just let the viewer decide.
The point is, I found a way to make art that makes me happy. I’m not constantly questioning whether it’s good or not, because it doesn’t matter. I enjoy the process.
I’m not going to act like I’m fulfilled all the time, because I’m not. It’s easy to slip into doubt, and question my self-worth as an artist. Especially since I am doing drawings that primarily consist of ladies taking a crap, and weird fat babies.
I can easily doubt my abilities as a mom too, when I’m bored out of my skull by having to hold Liam’s hands as I walk him up and down the sidewalk for the hundredth time.
Then, I surprise myself and come up with a new idea for my art, and I get to wonder where it came from…
and I notice how cute it is that when Liam practices walking, he looks like he’s drunk…and he holds my fingers so tight, they turn purple.