Blog 1401: New Year’s Resolution 2.0

Back in Berlin, safe and sound, after a great Australian tour, and ready for a year of being productive and…

Wait.

Ray Mann | Berlin, NYE 2013

I’m constantly looking for permission. I can’t be a “leader”, because I’m always looking to see if someone else has gone there first. It’s not that I want to follow; I just have a terrible fear of being wrong, being inappropriate, overstepping the mark – and I never discover that I’ve done so until it’s too late, and I never feel justified until it’s way, way too later.

I look for the green light, and say “Oh, that counts? I can do that too.” Being the first one out there means being alone – and I decided to pursue a life of making art because I already felt alone. My hope was that I’d connect with others through my art, and this has and hasn’t happened: I still feel at a distance from my audience; my interactions with other artists feel like satellites on their individual trajectories, occasionally bumping into eachother on the shores of outer space; and ultimately, when I create, I still do so on my own.

I know my gut knows much more than me, and yet I still second-guess it. I know this is wrong, both as an artist and as a man. I take steps against my tendency – like posting as a blog something that should probably be a private journal entry; like The Sketches Project – by just closing my eyes, falling forward, and not daring to hope for “the best”.

New year’s resolution 1.0: be more honest.

… not that I’m being dishonest; just maybe hiding a little bit – and I only mean that in the sense that the art I make is personal, my outlet for expressing things I’d have trouble sharing in any other area of my life. So if I’m still holding back in my outlet, even for the sake of keeping the art from being more self-indulgent that it already is (if that’s even possible), then that sort of defeats the purpose, right? I guess by “be more honest”, I mean: “be less self-censoring (but still be an editor, just a more hot-blooded one)”… erm, simple.

But: how to do so without being embarrassing (or, let’s be honest, embarrassed)? Or: is being a laughing stock a bad thing? It’s relative, based on time and context, two things you have neither control over nor persistent understanding of. So: if the modulating factors are by definition out of your hands, let’s reason yourself out of being too cautious. It’s ok to just go for it. You’ve kind of left yourself with no other choice. So: just go for it, and wait and watch, with everyone else, what comes of you.

New Year’s Resolution 2.0: be more fearless.

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