The Art of Getting Started / by Kai Chuan

180404_gettingstarted.jpg

Art belongs to the people. It’s a gift for everyone to enjoy — both in experiencing art and, equally as important, in creating it. Anyone can pick up a brush, a camera, a notebook and pen. (Though, skill does not come without time and effort.) Anyone can create.

But not everyone does. Perhaps from a lack of resources — including time, space, or support. Perhaps from an absence of ideas and inspiration. Or perhaps even from an honest disinterest in creating anything at all. While all these reasons are valid, the foundation of each seems to be rooted in the issue of getting started.

You don’t want to start shooting your film until you have the best equipment and the money you need. You can’t sit yourself in front of your easel or desk because you don’t even know what you want to sketch or say. And what are people going to say of what you create? What will they think?

Getting started is difficult. Plain and simple. It really is. But so is pretty much everything else. Entering a pool is difficult until you count to three and jump. Tackling your to-do list at the beginning of work is difficult until you set your phone aside and start with minor tasks. Even starting your day at all can be difficult until you decide that it’s time to stop hitting the snooze button and just get up and go.

Whether you’re starting art as a hobby or as a career, know that the hardest part is getting started. You can do it though. We believe in you.

 

Trust your intuition.

If you have an impulse to create, don’t ignore it. Sometimes that impulse is centered on a small decision like pulling out your phone to take a photo on your commute. And sometimes it’s aimed at a more critical decision. (For me, it was the decision to give up other full-time work and financial security to pursue Two Feet Studios and work as an artist full-time.) Whatever the decision, think about it hard for a second (if it’s a minor choice) or a day at most (for more momentous ones), then act on it. The feeling won’t last forever, so action is key. Trust yourself.

Failure is an opportunity.

Don’t worry about success or failure. Worry about what’s in front of you — what you’re trying to create. Considering success and failure — especially as an exclusively binary outcome of only positive or negative — is how art becomes business, commercial, lifeless, pointless. Of course, failure is never the goal. But it’s still possible — inevitable. Use failure as a tool for learning. Study from your mistakes. Strengthen your weaknesses. Learn your physical and emotional limits and boundaries. Discover your taste and interests. Just do the best you can (in that moment and context*). Otherwise, failure will then truly be your fault.

Talent is an illusion.

There’s no such thing as talent. Only skill as a product of time and effort. With so many other things that might try to limit your creation, why let the illusion of innate “talent” restrict your abilities? Focus on your craft and follow your passion — your passion. The more you look at what you create as something you’ve earned, the more you’ll find success and happiness in it.

Treat it as seriously as you’d like it to be treated.

If you’re trying to make art your career, (first of all, congrats) then treat it like one. If you don’t take your work seriously, then neither will your peers and your audience. The expectations you set as a creator and proponent of your work reflect how people will see what you’ve done.

 

Regardless, always be proud of your art. It’s hard to get started, but you finished. Finished! Nothing is the end of the world, and there’s always next time.

Count to three and jump. Start small and work up. But most importantly, decide it’s time to get up and go.

Your friends,
Kai and Easton

*Remember that your “best” today might not be your “best” tomorrow. Every moment creating is a different moment and a different you. Doing the best you can in that moment is what’s important.