Keep a Schedule and Work Hard

I would like to start this post by pointing out how long it has been since my last update.

One of the reasons for starting this blog was to provide myself with a way of working more discipline into my schedule. Part of being a full-time artist is making your own hours, and setting your own work schedule. Having that much flexibility has the potential to lead to a very unproductive lifestyle. One way of preventing this is by keeping regular hours. Wake up at a set time each day, go though a set morning routine, then enter the studio, and work away for 8 hours, then clock out and go home.

It would be a bit dishonest to say that I stick to this schedule rigidly. I must admit that on occasion, I do show up late, sneak out early, and take some extended breaks. The important thing is to at least try to maintain some sort of regular schedule. Oscillating between 0-hour work weeks and 100+ hour work weeks is not a good way to live your life. I know too many artists who regularly do nothing until they have an upcoming show, which kicks them into high production mode, where they produce artwork nonstop, they have their show, then they burn out and take some time off to recover, waiting for inspiration to re-enter their practice. I have found that lazing about, waiting for inspiration to enter my life is a shortcut to a creative dead end. I can’t remember who first said it, but being a professional is about doing the thing you love most on the days you don’t feel like doing it.

To help me maintain a fixed schedule in my life, I told myself that Sunday shall be website update day. Every Sunday, regardless of whatever else I have going on, I shall update my website, I shall add one more entry to this blog. I guess at this point it is obvious that I have moved from shall to should.

But, I don’t feel too bad about missing this particular deadline. It is very easy to be the kind of artist who talks a whole lot about being an artist, but doesn’t spend all that much time actually making art. This past week I’ve put in over 90 hours getting my biggest project to date finished, and it has been completed a full month ahead of the deadline.

Ideas are cheap; bringing ideas to life is what matters. Nothing beats that feeling of working as hard as you possibly can on something, and finally seeing your ideas come into fruition. That moment when when it stops being just a dream, and becomes a reality simply cannot be beat. Some people might think that for an artist, the highlight for them is the show opening, where they release their art for the world to see. Others may think that a flood of positive reviews the next day might be the highlight, or the moment of that first sale, when an artist learns that someone loves their work enough to want to make it a permanent part of their life.

All of those are wonderful moments to be sure, but that moment where I stand back and look at my creation for the first time is what keeps me going. Real success isn’t a busy opening, glowing reviews, or selling out a show. Success isn’t about selling a million records, it’s about recording an album to be proud of. Success is about bringing something new to the world, something you can be proud of.

That’s where I am right now. I’m exhausted, I’m sore, I’m worn out and completely drained; and I have a bunch of new work that I can not wait to share with you.

Published by

Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *