A few years ago I saw an interview conducted by Charlie Rose featuring abstract painter Brice Marden. The interview was conducted during a huge retrospective that Marden had at MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art in New York, exhibiting over 100 works that he had created over four decades. What struck me about the interview was his response to a couple of questions about his start as an artist. Among several other questions, he was asked, “Why did you become an artist?” and “Did you feel you had something special?” He responded that he was initially drawn to the romantic notion of being an artist where “Nobody can tell you what to do.” He went on to say that he didn’t have any outstanding attributes or qualities that marked him as an artist – but the idea of being an artist appealed to him, so he made a decision. He said, “I wanted to paint, I wanted to learn how to paint.” Brice Marden made a decision and commitment to become an artist, a painter. It’s that simple. Everything has the potential to change when we make a decision, when we commit. So the key questions that we should be asking ourselves are, “Have I decided?” “Am I committed?”
It’s a funny thing about a life that revolves around creativity – we often feel we need to see some outward signs of natural talent or an incredible gift – blessings from the creative muse so to speak, prior to committing to our desire to embrace a creative path. We compare ourselves with others and judge whether or not we measure up. I think that we place far too much emphasis on assessing our talents rather than listening to our hearts and then committing to the direction it dictates to our soul. We spend our valuable energy worrying about whether we have what it takes, rather than on fostering what we already possess. We think it will be our skills that limit our opportunities and success, rather than our commitment, our willingness to persevere. Making a decision is the first step. Our decisions then need to be reinforced with commitment – a commitment to learn, to persevere and to practise.
Let’s take my interest in having a creativity blog – The Creative Commitment. As you may have noticed, the blogging has been anything but regular – a whopping two posts last year. For someone who writes and creates daily, it strikes me as rather funny that I’m not great at posting things and putting my thoughts out there in this format. I realized that while I had an interest in having a blog and sharing with others, I had not yet made the commitment to a regular schedule of posting information, articles, quotes and thoughts. Isn’t that ironic, especially considering the title of the blog! While I have committed to creating everyday I had not yet committed to blogging. This is new for me, unfamiliar territory and somehow it feels intimidating and obviously overwhelming. And those emotions feel uncomfortable and I’ve obviously been avoiding the discomfort. Well, that’s all about to end. Today, I am making a commitment to myself, and to you. I am committed to creativity, to sharing ideas about creativity and innovation, and I am committed to this blog. I will approach the creation of this space like any other creative endeavor. I will set aside time to work on it regularly, let myself dream and experiment and learn and play. I will produce lots of stuff realizing that not all of it will be “worthy”, but trusting that it is all part of the process. And I hope that through all of it, you will be there to learn and grow along with me. I hope that 2015 will be an outstanding year for you. A year of creativity, purpose and love. I also hope that you will join me and challenge yourself by asking “Am I interested or committed?” – because everything changes with a commitment!