Turning point

This time marks a turning point in my practice. Just as going to Wimbledon made my art more conceptual, and travelling led me to make music, this MA Artist Teacher at Goldsmiths is opening my eyes to what Art is in a profound and thick way. Since joining the course I have been ‘revisiting my practice’. Laying out what it is I am interested in and looking back on what I have done so far with my life. I did this by mapping out on my studio walls where I situate myself. The process was overwhelming and I was met with much anxiety and frustration. Mainly because it raised many questions which I did not have the answers to, nor did I talk my thoughts through with others until I had my presentation last week (see two previous posts). It was really eye, mind and heart opening. I felt a sense of liberation and was so grateful to have the critical and sincere feedback from my peers. They were able to see my practice in a different light to what I saw. However much they suggested and tried to convince me that I was already doing what I want to be doing I was blind to it, but now I see. I’ve come to really see these blocks I’ve experienced in songwriting and singing have to do with lacking confidence in my ability through: comparing myself with others and with my own false notion of what it means to be an artist or a singer. A false notion that I have been cultivating since I before I can remember: ‘I want to be a singer’.

It’s not that I don’t want to be a singer anymore, rather I previously understood ‘being a singer’ as one particular thing. I was fixated on a stereotype. I feel I need to revaluate why I want to sing. What it is about singing that I long for, and instead to strive for those values, as opposed to the social construction. As one of my classmates put it so well,

“We all have these ideas of what it means to be something, what it means to be a singer and what it means to be an artist and what it means to be a teacher … and it’s very easy to say no I’m not those things … I can still be a singer if I’m not standing up in front of lots of people, or I can still be an artist if I’m not exhibiting in a gallery”.
By not necessarily striving to ‘become a singer’ anymore I feel liberated. This is because I no longer have the pressure to complete that social construction. I feel able to pursue all my other interests with less anxiety, less need to worry or plan the future. Hopefully to trust life in the direction it takes me. It also takes the pressure off writing a song that others will like, and I think take me back to writing songs for the joy, the process and the sake of it. I can only imagine that by worrying less and enjoying more I will produce work I am proud of and that I believe in.

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