Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A little water... a little thought

A little water... a little thought #pascalcampionart. Just a thought...
Every couple of weeks or month I look at my work and feel like it sucks. Emotionally, it's not fun , but rationally, I have been through this so often( let's see... I've been drawing for a few decades now, so.. it's happened a few hundred times, maybe a thousand even....just to let you know guys, we ALL go through this). The reason for this feeling varies, but it's usually all centered around the fact that we see our work so often, we can't see anything new with it, and we focus on the flaws... and pretty much convince ourselves that if we see these flaws so clearly, that is the only thing that other people can see.( at least, that's one of the recurring thought process in my mind). It doesn't help that the internet provides copious amounts of fresh new art every ..minute or so, that just reinforces this idea that your own art is just not that great.( A funny thing about that though...is that every new artist you discover goes through that same process...funny, no?) One of the things I have noticed for me is that a good way to get over that, other than just sitting down and letting it pass..which works too .... is to just try something different. Trying something different in these situations is tricky, because you already don't like what you do best, so you're trying something new at which you KNOW you are not going to be as good.. it's really a bizarre thing... but it's also the best time to do it, because if you accept the fact that you will not create a master piece, you will probably let yourself experiment outside of your comfort zone, and surprise yourself...even if in the end the image comes back to what you know how to do... ( the reason for that is because your mind is trained to look at art and analyze it according to your standards...so when you do something different, you're still judging it by the standards with which you judge your own production...so you tend to bring that new thing back to what you do...but doing the new thing opens up your mind to the possibility of expanding your tastes and by that fact.. open up your abilities. Doing something different when you feel like you're in the wrong line of work, that you'd rather be a janitor, a whale watcher or the president of the moon because these jobs must surely be easier , is a great way to get over the humps and help you break new ground in your art..even if you don't see it as such at the moment. Anyhow... this is something different for me.. I can see that I was trying a different approach and brought it back to something I usually do, but it's made me thing and try something new, and, in a few months, maybe even in a year, or next week, I'll be able to incorporate that into my natural work flow. P.


Unknown said...

Being with you for already more than 1, 5 year I continue to admire with your personality. Your pictures are amazing and touching by themselves but the comments and thoughts you write complement the whole picture and help to see the ground of your thoughts. Thank you Pascal for sharing your feelings. You reflect in your pictures that one can't say with words and say something that deeper than picture..

Unknown said...

First of all I wish I could 'suck' like this:) Secondly thank you for sharing this feeling. I was concerned, you seemed down. Additionally if an artist like you who I esteem to be of a highest caliber, can feel like this I wont feel so alien when I feel this way. Lastly take a break and watch a Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skelington has this same problem. You know the best in Halloween town wants to be Santa???
Thanks again for sharing. I have been changing the way I create as well and needed to hear it from a respected artist.

Unknown said...

Almost forgot...Your new piece still rocks!

SensualMe said...

Pascal, for me your paintings are always perfect,, having that "spark" in them :)

and also, you reminded me of this gem, "On Sucking", by Otis Funkmeyer, have you seen it?

"Hey hey hey! How are you!? Good! How am I you say!?? Well, now that you ask, I’ve actually been feeling a bit confused this month. More so than usual. It kinda feels like the good old days when confusion was one of my closest friends. And you know how when you see an old friend that you haven’t seen in a while and it’s like no time has passed at all… Well, it’s kinda been like that.

The confusion seems to be the collision of two things: my stated intention to be traveling around the world performing for the next four years and my complete inability to control my life and will anything to happen. It seems I ate too many red pills and am now perpetually “in the flow,” whether I like it or not.

So sometimes when I’m just sitting around, I’m like, is this it? Am I still even traveling? What am I even doing with my life? And then I wake up and realize I’ve gone from Washington to Oregon to California to Arizona back to California back to Arizona back to California and back to Arizona this month and it seems Mexico is calling… And I think, oh, when you look at it like THAT, I guess I have been traveling pretty consistently this month. But isn’t it supposed to look different? I mean, is this IT!?

It’s a funny thing, that thing. How you find yourself living your dream and thinking it’s supposed to look different than it does…

And thus the realization that is at first quite depressing; it’s never gonna get any better than this. This life, this… is heaven. Right here. Ho-hum. And in fact, my glorious idea of “traveling the world performing” is pretty much no better than any other thing I could do. The only thing that makes it even the slightest bit better is that it’s what I want to be doing. So even when it sucks, at least it’s the particular brand of suck I said I want.

So speaking of things sucking, that’s actually the main thing that I’ve been been tossing and working through my brainstem this month. Sucking. As in, not being particularly good.

And so, this month, our topic is sucking.

I Still Suck

It’s a weird feeling. I quit my math path like 12 years ago now. Gave it all up to be a dancer. So romantic. I even finagled my way into befriending and best-friending many of the very best dancers in the whole wide world. And I kept thinking, one day I’ll be good like them! I’ll be cool! I’ll be a star! And they are all stars now. Winning all the big contests. All over the TV and the Broadway and the movies. And here I am. Still sucking.

And yah yah, I know. “No Otis, you don’t suck! You’re pretty good! You’re so cute when you dance!” Ummm… thanks.

I see it so clearly when I dance. My body is all wrong. My hips are too tight. My shoulders are not muscular enough to make the right motions. My core is not strong enough to give the right look. It’s like UGGGGHHHHHH. And when I perform, it’s usually not right. Not engaging. Too inward. I can see it so clearly. And then, here I still am. Still me, still not right, still unable to magically change into some other person who’s so much better than me.

One day, I was out street performing in Tempe, Arizona and I just said in the parlance of the youth, fuck it. And I just sucked. I had fun dancing and making music and juggling and didn’t try to be good. I was just me. And people kept coming up to me like, damn dude, you’re pretty good! Damn dude if I had a dollar, I’d totally give it to you. Etc etc.

And I knew there was something to that. Something as liberating as it was depressing, as profound as it was obvious.

I knew for a moment that the key to all of this, the key to my own fame and fortune, and much much much more importantly than either of those, the key to my own happiness and sanity and clarity, was just sucking.

SensualMe said...


Just being willing to suck. Giving up the idea that I’m EVER going to be good. At all. Giving up the idea that it’s EVER going to be better than this. And just doing what I do. Naturally. For the lulz.

My Emancipation Proclamation

And so, I, Otis Funkmeyer, born one score and twelve years ago, heretofore do proclaim that I give up my desire to be good, to be better than I am, to be like my idols, to be known throughout the land for my goodness. Specifically:

I accept that I may never be as good a dancer as Ryan Webb or Walid Bouhmani.

I accept that I may never be as good a juggler as Michael Falkov or Stefan Sing.

I accept that I may never be as good a beatboxer and live looper as Beardyman, Dub FX, or Reggie Watts.

I accept that I may never be as good a rapper as Illmaculate or Rone, Jay-Z or Mos Def or Jay Electronica.

I accept that I may never be as good an improviser as Ross Steeves.

I accept that I may never be as good a singer as Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson.

I accept that I may never be as good a street performer as Robert Shields or as good a performer as Charlie Chaplin.

I accept that I may never be as good a mime as Tony Montanaro.

I accept that I may never be as good a pianist as Bernie Worrell.

I let myself off the hook for sucking. I let myself just be as good or as bad as I am. I let myself just be.

I am just going out and doing this. Over and over and over. Because I love doing this. I hate trying to be good. I hate being tense. I hate trying to live up to my own standards. I hate not having fun. I hate that my standards get stricter the better I get. I hate that I want to be good so much that I don’t even let myself do anything. And so I release it. Right here, right now. And so it is.

So next time you see, just know, you might be embarrassed that I have let myself off the hook and now am letting it all hang out. Or you might like it. We’ll see. I’m just sick of trying to figure it out in advance.

My Declaration of Enjoyment

I know, historically speaking, I’m going in reverse order with these two documents, but it’s my letter and I’ll change the order of history if I want to.

I do declare that the most important thing for me, from here on out, is my own enjoyment of performing. More than being good and more than people liking what I’m doing. I’m just here to amuse myself. Out in the world, having fun. I am preemptively striking, shock and awing the haters. I already know that I suck before I start. So who cares. I’ve already laughed at myself and so I give up and just be what I be and just do what I do. And yes, I am doing things wrong and no, I am not living up to the standards. It turns out that I am the goofy guy that I’ve never wanted to be. The one that I’ve always pointed the finger at as I’ve snickered with my friends. Always trying to NOT be that guy. Well, get ready, cuz here he comes, pale and awkward, unsuave, unshaven and unashamed.

“Oh dear God, what is he doing?” You’re damn right what am I doing. I’m doing ME. And good luck stopping me..."

JD said...

Read this and my initial thoughts were "are you KIDDING ME??" Because every time I see your work, I get one of those sinking feelings, questioning MY quality of work and ideas.

Then I took comfort, because it's good to know I'm not alone in these thoughts.

Thank you for this post. :)