Updated: Apr 22, 2022
I think the biggest struggle to artist block is the inability to feel satisfaction with your work, your art, and yourself. A compilation of depression, isolation, or maybe just a full on burnout of art as a whole. And the kick of it all... as an artist, you are EXPECTED to keep doing art.
HUH?! So you sit there starring at the blank wall, canvas, lifeless object begging for uniqueness and you find yourself feeling as empty as the thing in front of you. Maybe you have a deadline. Maybe you're just yearning for motivation. So, what can you do?!
Trash your place and grab your equipment...
Step 1: Get Out of the Studio
Where are you doing the bulk of your art? Sometimes the first way to get out of a stump is to grab any materials I need and step out into the real world. A park, a mural, a view of the city, a coffee shop. Potentially anything that will inspire me over the space I see daily. You can take the added pressure of the "doing" by also leaving your materials and simply putting your eyes into the outside world. However, what ever you do... DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR PHONE! Spend an hour in the peaceful serenity of your favorite place, maybe even go somewhere you've never been to clear your mind. Step 2: Asses the Studio If that does the trick, then you may have a bigger problem. Your studio no longer matches the energy that you are trying to portray in your art. If you feel inspired by leaving the space where you feel the most whole? Then it's blatantly obvious that your space doesn't suit your needs anymore. TRASH YOUR STUDIO! Take this to whatever meaning you desire. I myself have too much OCD to want to actually "destroy" my surroundings. But I will rearrange the furniture, get new furniture, repurpose and refurbish things I find for free. I will repaint the walls, reupholster the area, get a new rug. Maybe add a neon light or new light scale. Your studio is the presentation of yourself. If you don't feel fulfilled, it is more likely than not that your space is also resembling how you feeling. Ever heard of depression room? An article from verywellminded.com discusses the difference between a "messy" space over an organized space. "The researchers believed that doing work in a clean and tidy space activates social norms encouraging people to do what is expected of them. Working in a messy space, on the other hand, relaxes that need and allows people to break free of social norms and expectations." Whether or not organization is key to your creativity, it is important to personalize your space to suit your needs. If you don't, your studio may become your creative jail. Step 3: Try a new Project
The best way to help your creative juices fly is definitely find a project you have never done before. If your medium is paint, maybe try to sculpt. If you are a jeweler, maybe try a drawing project. EVEN IF YOU SUCK AT THAT MEDIUM YOU'RE TRYING. Trying different mediums can help increase your artistic coordination, knowledge of object permanence, and fine motor skills.
Step 4: Do a study Another option is to take the time to practice the small details of your art. Maybe do a study on eyes and create various ways of making the eye. If your art is highly "romantic" do some things centered around romance and beauty. Watch a rom com, buy someone you care about roses, read a poetry book, anything that can help you gather a collection of knowledge to inspire your art.
Step 5: Blast Over OR...Make a project with the intent to destroy it. A great project you can practice that I think
is beneficial to artist block is "blast over".
The concept of "blast over" art was coined by tattoo artists. The idea is to take a flash tattoo and randomly place it over another tattoo a person would have on their body.
You can embody this same idea in your art. Create a project with no intention in mind, and then go over that with a new project. The best example of this is painting on canvas. Begin a painting that is detailed, or even write your favorite quote. Then completely or partially paint over it with something completely different. An artist I turn to for these ideas is Terry Urban.
Terry is a Dj, music producer, who also produces an eclectic range of paintings that are magnificent to watch start to finish. I highly encourage watching their videos to spark some blast over ideas.
Step 6: "The hate hate hate" Project
The final piece of help I can offer is to try a project full of all the negative thoughts that are in your head. If you are struggling with the depression side of artist block, then you may be having an issue with self worth. A project that I think aids in the creation of powerful pieces is the "Hate Hate Hate" project.
Start by taking a piece of paper and writing a collection of words, phrases or things that maybe don't match a positive
version of yourself. When you're done either rip it up, or draw an equivalent piece of art with it. When you're done, let it go. Whether you leave it in a book or throw it out. Let it be the take away from the struggles of doing art. If you do this project... Then at least
you did something with your artist block.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. I truly hope the ideas presented above help with feeling blocked. Stardust&Hunnybee is meant to be an artist collective for all artists to come together, find new mediums, projects, ideas, and help. So PLEASE comment bellow with any projects you've done with this article. Or even comment or post some more help with Artist block for other artists.