We were all curious as children and many artists retain that trait as vital to dynamic art practice. Yet curiosity can be fragile, disappearing in the face of information overload or the desire to seem knowledgeable and in control. To be curious, to wonder, to explore –all are aspects of ourselves that keep us young, with room to grow. Today we will look at how to nurture curiosity in your art practice and the importance of exploring and wondering, in art and in life.
During our current COVID-related shut-down, many artists are feeling free of gallery pressures and deadlines and are experiencing exciting growth in their work. But others feel stagnant, or reluctant to move on from an approach that has served them well in the past. By not exercising curiosity, they may be blocking ways to overcome these obstacles.
Some of the most successful artists are life-long learners, always curious, investigating new ideas, and reaching out to other artists for reciprocal conversations. They ask "what-if" questions of their work and are willing to take risks in the studio trying out new media and following their impulses. They are open to change and input. They track their ideas over time, sometimes returning to paths that were abandoned earlier with fresh perspective. And they think of ways to integrate new information, techniques, and materials into their current and developing work.
Unfortunately, other people tend to shut down curious impulses, or immediately look to others for answers rather than figuring out what they want to know. Or they may fear looking ignorant or incompetent. As a result they close off some of the true joys of creating--discovery, honoring impulses, and the pride of independent accomplishment. If you sense a lack of curiosity in your own attitudes, consider what is holding you back. It is easy to fall into habits that cut off new information. We may fail to apprecaite what others have to offer, or resist doing our own investigating when we have a question. Curiosity is a muscle that needs to be exercised.
Curious artists have a big advantage in their art practices, remaining energized and growing in their work. Knowing how to obtain new information and recognizing what may impede your own curiosity can be important steps in opening new pathways in the studio.
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