being an artistic polymath

I used to wonder what was wrong with me, because I couldn't stick with a single medium in my art practice. And in college, I straddled the worlds of words (the English department) and images (the Art department), while still holding on to an interest in science (biology and chemistry were favorites).

I believed that in order to succeed I really had to specialize. And so I focused heavily on my photography. It's a favorite medium of mine, of course, but the more I focused on it exclusively, the more trouble I had feeling like it was a fulfilling exercise.

And then I recently found permission was in the Accidental Creative's interview with Emilie Wapnick, a self-proclaimed "multi-potentialite" -- someone who enjoys being involved in a wide variety of interests.

And it dawned on me: it's unusual to work in a single style or medium forever. Many famous artists didn't. And then there are conceptual artists whose work spans a wide variety of mediums because of its nature.

And I realized: I enjoy taking the time to learn new processes because it teaches me how to make mistakes again.

So I'm going to embrace my artistic polymath nature and continue to experiment in the places where it makes the most sense for me:

  • sketchbook (where nothing matters)
  • self-directed (secret) project
  • proclaimed collaboration with another person
  • fooling with my kids (who don't care)

I'm a generalist. And I'm okay with that!