Art by Niki Stage
What are your dreams? What keeps you up at night and makes you get out of bed in the morning? What makes your heart pound and your creative juices flow? Artists tend to dream big, which leads us to strange career paths as well as the impulses that underpin great creative output -- but what if we don’t dream big enough? And what if we let our dreams get away from us? Jake Parker, Will Terry, and Lee White discuss the importance of dreams and dreaming big, and try to pin down the nature of that thing that makes us struggle against conventional wisdom, creative block, and financial stress, to make art.
As much as I enjoyed this episode, this one is a little difficult for me to to relate to. I'm trying to find ways to make some fake success really concrete for myself - I'm going to start the hundred paintings and see how quickly I can finish them - so maybe I'm going to have to dream smaller.
Matt Haggard last edited by
Fun to hear you all chat!
Regarding the question about what things would be like if money was no object and you had all the time in the world to do art: I'm as amateur an artist as they come, but I've heard several times that one component of good art is working within constraints. Remove the constraints and it's not as good. Add constraints and magical things happen.
Perhaps the same applies to the work of an artist (or any work, for that matter). We wish we didn't have these externally-imposed constraints (having to chase money, not having enough time, etc...). But sometimes I think those constraints are what drive us to succeed in ways we otherwise wouldn't.
Thanks for reminding me to dream big!
Debra Garcia last edited by
@Matt-Haggard Well put. Constraints really matter; the arrow cannot fly without the confining force of a bow drawn back.
carlianne last edited by
@Matt-Haggard I totally agree about constraints! I don't think I would push myself as hard if I didn't need to make an income to feed my family, and was too stubborn to take on work that isn't art.
@Will-Terry thank you for this episode, it was truly inspiring but also somehow grounding. Something that I really needed today!
Debra Garcia last edited by
So, now I've been thinking about the dreams i'd like to have, but have been reluctant to give myself permission to dream. I have been pretty spotty in my participation here, so I missed the original post about dreams, but I'd like to share some of my thoughts.
Illustrating a huge collection of public domain stories with the original wording (like Bible stories, poems, songs, and original fables/fairy tales), printed both in print and cursive.
Being on the 3 point perspective podcast as a special guest. Lol (I feel kind of silly admitting that)
Cultivating a food forest
Creating meaningful book fan art and original art that people love to send to each other as postcards, or to hang in their homes.
Having my art be so well-made and meaningful that people don't say "Wow, you're so talented.", But rather "Thank you. Your art moved me."
Having an eclectic YouTube channel that inspires others to learn and do good, and to do good well.
A 100% self-made wardrobe.
Loved this episode. Its okay to dream and to work toward those dreams. I have to remind myself because its easy to get busy. Its also easy, if I'm being honest, to let the business take over because, not very deep down, I am scared that if I had more time and opportunity, I would realize that I'm actually not good enough. Its insecurity , but I want to get past it. I don't want to model living out of fear for my kids because I tell them to work hard at what they want. I'm more determined to go after it now. Thank you!
Also, @nikstage your art is beautiful! I was just poking around on your website and I love your images!!
I just finished listening to the podcast and one of my favorite points was when the guys talked about dreams as imagining what you would do every day. Because (to borrow from Annie Dillard), how we spend our days is how we spend our lives! In fact, I don't even care so much about being well-known, except that it would hopefully mean that I was making beautiful art. I just want to be able to be able to do what I'm already doing well enough that someone else enjoys it and so I get to keep doing it.
Parts of this podcast reminded me very much of a 2016 film, Florence Foster Jenkins. It's based on the true story of a woman who wanted to be an opera singer but wasn't talented. But her husband was rich, so he fed her dream of singing at Carnegie Hall. The film presents any number of interesting questions other than talent, but I think it strikes a chord in the heart of many artists because we are all afraid of suffering from the Dunning Kruger effect. In reality, probably just as many artists have Imposter Syndrome instead. The best balance is realism, but regardless of where we are, we all need a safe space to try, fail, and try again. The problem is that it's just notoriously hard to self-judge!
AnnaFleet last edited by
@Jake-Parker @Lee-White @Will-Terry another great episode! Thank you.
Also, thank you Will for reading my comment - now I listened to it again I'd like to add couple of comments, maybe I should have gone into more details in the first place. It's not just about having a child simply dressing up as one of my characters...it's more than that. I want a child to choose that character because they are inspired by them, they look up to them, they want to be like them, they want to make the choices the character made...and maybe it'll inspire those kids to dream big too! The fame isn't priority here but I guess without anyone knowing who I am and who my characters are there would be no kids dressing up
As for being "pigeon holed"...I don't think it's always a bad thing...if your character or book is doing awesome maybe that is all you need. Looking at J K Rowling here, no matter what she did or will do in the future she'll always be the one who created Harry Potter, I bet she's pretty happy with that
I'm not saying I want to be like JK Rowling, this is just my argument.
Main point is I want to inspire kids, inspire them to read, write, create and dream and if I could do all this and being able to support myself financially that would also be awesome! I teach primary school children part time and always treasure times when we can share stories, hopefully one day, my stories will be shared and treasured too!
Katie Kordesh last edited by
I've listened to this twice already One of my favorite episodes so far and I really needed to hear it. Super excited about getting to work right now and making tiny steps towards what I want to do. Thanks for another great episode!
I listened to this episode again, and I think what I am surprised by is that this idea of dreaming big in the beginning turns out to be visualizing the day-to-day.
Also, whoever put that link in the show notes LEE'S SELF PORTRAIT NUDES (REALISTIC), i love you
baileymvidler last edited by
I don't think I would push myself as hard if I didn't need to make an income to feed my family, and was too stubborn to take on work that isn't art.
I am going to print this sentence, frame it, and hang it on my wall.
xin li last edited by xin li
Thank you for the episode, fasinating topic.
Here is a thought: maybe I should put "dream big" on my calendar once a month. I give myself 1 hour to write down things I want to do, accompolish long term.
Something I learned from a wise friend: there are urgent things, there are important things. They are not the same. People often only do urgent things, even if they are not important, but forgot the important but not urgent things.
I feel like Dream big is one of these important but not urgent things people often forgot to do.
ElBench last edited by
Great episode! About money-success discussion at the beginning, to complicate things a little, here is a talk which discusses research showing how money is a terrible motivator for creative tasks:
carlianne last edited by
@baileymvidler so glad to inspire you
I looked up the Dunning Kruger effect after reading your post and read this quote by Dunning: "If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent ... The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is." I think art is particularly tough to self-evaluate because to the untrained, art looks like "anything goes." If you can't hold a pitch in music, it's obvious (or should be) that you are not a good musician but if you can't draw an anatomically correct character, you'll see lots of successful artists whose characters aren't realistic at all, so how do you know if your inability to draw realistically makes you a bad artist? I think it takes a lot lot longer to understand art than other creative fields which, as you said, makes if hard to self-judge and tough to know when your dreams are realistic.
Thanks for your post. It really got me thinking.
@demotlj I'm glad you got something out of it, Laurie! I wonder if artists who draw primitively are sort of like folk musicians? There are many valid styles of creating art and music that range from classical to folk, but it takes a trained eye (or ear) to see (hear) that validity sometimes. Also, I know plenty of people who sing off key or out of rhythm and don't know it!
At any rate, I'm glad we have the boards here to helps us get critiques and grow.
Jeremy Ross last edited by
@Will-Terry , my dream is to win an SVS Contest! So far, I’ve made it to the board, but not yet Sweet 16. Still dreaming!
All of the amazing students are pushing me to level up, so winning would be icing on the cake of just getting better with each illustration.
Of course, winning a Caldecott is on the dream list too (wink).
As Cal Newport says, “strive to be so good they can’t ignore you!” I am striving! I’m only 40, I have plenty of time.
Great podcast gents!