Introversion and art: embracing loneliness

If there is one aspect that every artist can relate to, it is introversion. As a self proclaimed introvert, I find myself most at ease in times of solitude. For better or for worse, It’s in these opportune moments I can contemplate freely. Between analyzing what was said in an earlier conversation, pondering the tasks I have to accomplish, or reflecting on a specific incident from long ago, my thoughts can be neutral, positive, or dismissive all at once. The sheer intensity of these thoughts can vary from day to day, turning from playful to toxic in an instant. Yet it is in introspection that I learn the most about myself. For me personally, I feel honesty and self awareness are traits that can only be revealed through self reflection. It’s through this same self awareness that I am able to not take things at face value and keep a level head; where ego’s can be checked, emotions kept at bay, and most importantly, where creativity can flow. It comes to no surprise that being an artist requires copious amounts of alone time. For me personally, playing music in the background acts as a great solution for staving off loneliness. The key is knowing yourself and what works best for you. Some artists may opt to work in a collective, as they feel more comfortable collaborating to let their ideas shine. For me collaboration has always been slightly awkward between myself and other visual artists. I guess maybe because I like to be in control. Unfortunate perhaps for myself, as collaboration with other artists can lead to brilliant breakthroughs and growth. I say this with the same self awareness detailed earlier, as someone who has garnered his chops with a collective of artists; I feel my time spent with said collective could have seen better input from myself, if I would have just let my guard down. Maybe I'm just hard on myself, a trait certainly commonplace with overthinkers. Oftentimes, I find myself in a constant struggle to obtain the unattainable, the unattainable being perfection. Scrutinizing every single detail of a painting, changing this or that, in the hopes to to be satisfied; the truth is we are never truly appeased. There is always one element or two that we feel could have done differently, and that is what makes being an artist special. The constant need to create, make mistakes, improve, implement new ideas to form new breakthroughs. Indeed this enjoyment comes from creating, getting to that final result, rather than seeing the final result itself.

When we think of creating a body of work. The idea of being locked in your studio for months can be daunting to some. The concept of a “ solo exhibition “ requires laser-like focus, sleepless nights, and yes introversion. I’m always truly in awe when experiencing a solo show by an artist, and finally get to see what they have spent the last six to twelve months, or even more creating. No easy feat for sure, but one that comes with high praise and prestige. I liken the solo exhibition in similar fashion to a musician dropping his new album. Both are meant to be truly personal works that focus on some sort of theme, with each individual pushing his or herself to showcase an evolved body of work. Again it’s in these months of creating in solitude that the artist sees growth and once these works are shown, that artist is no longer the same. Introversion can lead to soul searching, certain “ ah ha “ moments that would not have been discovered otherwise. Sometimes the best way to figure something out is to remove yourself from particular situations that no longer serve a purpose. Yes that can mean spending less time with loved ones, not going out as much, the key is to find a balance that works for you.