Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Measuring Stick

As we go through life we typically gauge our successes - and failures - by how we compare to others. It's an addictive loop so we tend to put ourselves into competitive situations on a regular basis. Society also builds structures - often very profitable and self-affirming ones - around this competitive nature. Awards, grants and exhibitions in particular institutions are tuned into this idea.

The protagonists' motivations are mixed and can involve financial gain, ego satisfaction and career advancement.

Where it gets interesting is how we deal not only with our failures but also the success of others.

I am acutely aware how the career progression of one particular artist affects me emotionally. I don't bemoan their success and, if anything, think it is rightfully deserved. I do however notice that I tend to fall into a rut when they cross my path creatively.

I don't feel like I'm 'competing' with them but their successes do frustrate any delusions I might have about my own.

I had thought it might have been jealousy on my behalf as I realise that the lauding of this artist affirms my feelings of being outside the pack.

Oddly enough, other artists in similar circles might have much greater success but those results don't seem to register.

Lately, I have consciously been trying to avoid these competitive structures - not necessarily because of this particular artist - and just work until my shutter finger bleeds. This will hopefully get me out of this hamster wheel and get me back to just making work.

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