My friend and fellow artist Sam Smith was talking with me this past summer, catching up over a late dinner after he had spoken to an evening Illustration class of mine. As we sat there on the cafe patio enjoying a pleasantly mild night, he talked about future ambitions and changing course in his career. I'm somewhat paraphrasing, but he said something that stuck to my brain the way good southern food sticks to your ribs:
"I don't know. I'm trying to figure out what Sam 2.0 looks like."
There was something so wonderful and freeing about that statement, because I, too, feel like I'm evolving into the next stage of my career. Not only me, but several amazing illustrators/artists in the Nashville area and elsewhere. These artists have worked with amazing clients and have done great things, but now they are ready for a change. It might be a stylistic change- the way they actually make their work. For others, it's expanding into new markets or realizing they are happier working in a different creative field.
Yet sometimes, we look at this natural artistic evolution with fear, as if it signals past bad decisions or "starting over". But it's just nature. I mean, individuals change their tastes all the time. We end up liking new foods over the years and change the way we dress or do our hair. Why wouldn't our art change as well?
So it was so lovely when Sam described his struggle as finding "Sam 2.0". This signifies a new and improved model. Growth. Something better on the horizon.
But it IS scary. I have been in my studio making art pretty much every day. Most days I am pleasantly humming along and so thankful to have time to try new things. Some pieces I'm pleased with annnnnnd then there are some other ones...well, I wouldn't say I don't like them...but it would be accurate to say that I don't love them. They get completed and I analyze them with an almost scientific viewpoint, examining a new piece and thinking ok, done with this one. What do I like? I think I'm getting closer to something. Moving on!
I had a college professor who said if you are uncomfortable with something you've created, GOOD. It probably means you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. So with that voice going off in the back of my head I push forward, trying to figure out what Lauren 2.0 looks like.