Body of Work

I held my breath as we careened across four lanes of traffic high above the Willamette River. It was Thursday morning and I should have been working on my business. Instead, I was teaching a girl I met on a cold rainy night in the parking lot of Best Buy how to drive. As we pulled into a parking spot at the Moda Center, she shook her head and sighed. “How do you stay so calm? I’m shaking.” 20 years of driving and raising seven boys, I thought. “It gets better with more practice,” I say. “You just need to keep driving with someone each day.”
That’s the same thing I need to remember as I work on my own projects. It gets better with practice, one day at a time. Each time I work on a fresh skill, advance a skill or concept, I’m creating a “body of work” a collection of pieces that is unified just like a girl mastering all the skills needed to drive.

One of the resources that I’m finding helpful is an article by Carolyn Edlund on creating a body of artwork.  It’s important for artists to focus on one area and have their work communicate clearly, however I think this carries over to other professions as well. Carolyn talks about applying to shows that fit your work, submitting your best work, and presenting your work professionally. In any profession, brushing up on your skillset and presenting your past work in an appealing manner is clearly necessary when attempting for a new position, but I think it applies to our every day work ethic as well. Thinking about an idea in a fresh way, bringing your best positive attitude to the table, taking care of the details are all part of creating your personal “body of work” whether you are an artist or not.

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