Archive for making art

Making timeless art

"Reclining Nude" by John Andro AvendañoI think if an artist has actually done the work and knows themselves, then they can make something that is real. They are ready to begin making art that reaches for timelessness. They may not get there every time, but they can reach for it. They are involved enough in their own process to sidestep using trickery. They are ready to make art that will truly connect with people on a deeper level. It all comes back to being real with your vision and your emotions. And that’s hard. It is an important part of the difficult work of being an artist. For example, you can look at Picasso’s Blue Period, and say it now looks dated. With Cubism, he left it early, since there was nothing left for him to do in that form. It was a plastic concept. He knew when he’d reached the end of it. Once he started to really relax, and drew and painted his kids and his immediate friends, those pieces are timeless works. You want to keep developing that natural and childlike connection with what you’re trying to create. In no matter what time period you’re living in. Develop the work habits that get your own ideas and emotions into the work. Don’t paint in your head. Paint on the canvas, or whatever medium you choose. Paint every day. As you work, your soul starts whispering to you. And you need to listen to it. That’s where timeless art comes from. The connection to your own life force, and reacting to the universe we live in.

Creating work that has a sense of timelessness

"Evening Out" by John Andro AvendañoTo keep myself engaged in the process every day – I switch mediums – from painting to drawing, to sculpting in wood or metal, to woodcuts – using anything I can to make something that I like. The whole idea of creating is to make something I like to look at. And I feel that once someone buys a piece, it keeps giving back. Every time you look at it, it gives the viewer something different, something new It’s like rereading a great book you fell in love with. Once you get past the first read, you can unpeel layers and layers. Every time you read it again, see it again, you discover new pieces in a novel or a painting. That what artists and writers are doing – creating works that are timeless. I’m not interested in creating a shocking piece of art, you know, a tinfoil formaldehyde shark, or large duplicates of medical pills, or images of dead heads wrapped in plastic with eyes bugging out. That’s not for me, not what I’m after. There may be a market for that, but I leave that for other artists to do. Through my searches – I’m striving to create beauty, and make something that’s everlasting, I want to create something you’d put up in your house, and every time you look at it you discover something new. That’s what I like to think about, like to do, like to share. Living in the world now, people don’t want to look at art that feels like it’s stuck in the 1970s. They want a feeling of timelessness and expansiveness. People want a piece that remains fresh – time after time.

It’s all the daily choices you make that make the difference

"Poe (Pearl)" by John Andro AvendañoWhether one is young or old, people are raised a certain way. For example, in our culture, many people think there’s still a thing called job security. There really isn’t. Security comes from within, not without. It’s all centered around the fear of not knowing if you can make a living – buy cars, clothes, get married – all the things people want in their lives. You have to realize, no matter what field you choose, you have to be able to pay the price of your choices. Since not matter what, no one else will ultimately bear that burden but you. It’s difficult to make the choice to be an artist when you’re married or have kids. Even so, if you’re going to be true to yourself, you’ll eventually get to the point where everyone’s pissed off at you. People close to you might call you selfish, or self-centered, egotistical, or self-righteous. A lot of people don’t like that type of pressure. You may not like it. It might not be the most pleasant thing to deal with. But no matter what, you’re going to have to be OK with it. You have to stay focused and move on. Because to live your life’s path is more important than anything. If you instill the idea in your kids that money is a security blanket, and you’ve given up a part of yourself to make a living, kids see that. If you’re tied up in a knot, and not living the way your true self speaks to you, they’ll follow the same path you’re teaching them. So there’s a lot at stake with learning how to live your life’s path. There’ll be a lot of pain, torment, indecision, and grief. But if you get past that, and you’re convinced, and you’ve convinced your loved ones there’s no other way, it becomes easier. I don’t do yard work, I don’t fix cars, I don’t really have any honey-dos. I create. That’s what I do. Seven days a week. If you put less than four hours a day into whatever creative pursuit you’re doing, whether it’s writing, acting, painting, or being a musician, chances are it’s not going to happen. It’s only when you’re so tired that you’re falling asleep creating because you can’t do anymore that day, then you know you’re on the right track. And when you make some money from selling your art, you buy materials. It’s the daily choices you make that will make the difference.

Don’t make excuses. Make art. Every day.

a-work-in-progressMaking art comes down to routine and habit. And that gets formed over many years. You have to get in the habit of getting up in the morning and starting. After you take care of  your emails or phone calls that you have to do, you have a cup of coffee, and then stand in front of your easel or sit at your table and start creating something. It doesn’t really matter what. Once you begin the process it takes off on its own. I get up around 7:00 a.m., have coffee, respond to emails, and start work about 9:00 a.m. I’ll stop at 1:00 p.m. and have lunch, then take care of more business. I’m back working in my studio by 4:00 p.m. And I’ll work until 3:00 a.m. There’s a dinner in there somewhere, but it’s not necessarily at the same time. There’s no mystery to it. If you want to create art, you have to work; you develop the habit. It’s about creating every day. Persistence matters. Not giving up matters. If you’re sick, you grab a piece of paper and do some drawing in bed. If you’re sick and throwing up, you grab some paper and draw in between times of being sick. If your leg is going to be amputated, get it amputated and then go back and make good art. There is no excuse, if you’re healthy and want to make art. There have been artists who were going blind and kept making art. Artists with no hands who painted with their feet. If they could do it, you can do it. Stop making excuses and make art.

Communicating with sincerity builds strong relationships

"Forcefield" by John Andro AvendañoFiguring out how to talk with people, and making friends begins in childhood. When you’re a little kid you’re looking for friends. It might feel like you don’t have enough friends, or maybe you don’t have any friends. And you start to wonder about it. Why do some people have a lot of friends, and some don’t have any? Without knowing it, the people who have a lot of friends have stumbled upon the fact that if you start being interested in other people and start sharing with them, you’ll make people feel better. I’m talking about being sincere, looking them in the eyes, and listening to their stories. Someone is listening to them, showing an interest, commenting on the positive things they have going for them. Everyone wants to hear, “Hey, that’s a pretty good thing you can do.” Especially when you’re young and it’s true. All of this has to come from a sincere place; it can’t be faked. When you get to a place where you’re sincere with people, you become naturally motivational. You become a magnet for like-minded kind people. It’s all about giving back and helping people in a way where you don’t expect anything in return. One of the best things to do is help someone who isn’t in a position of helping you. And all this applies to making and selling art. When you approach a gallery, talk about what you can do for them, not the other way around. You want to offer something, and it will lead to them having the right, proper motivation to help. When you want to help a gallery owner or collector, with sincerity, you’ll get tenfold back. I see this as a universal law that can’t go wrong.