Yesterday I had my last day of class with my Monday section of Freshman Drawing at RISD. I always end the class with a slideshow of my work. It’s a unique slideshow in that is only for my students: it starts with work that I did as a sophomore in high school all the way to work that I finished just a few weeks ago. (and no, I won’t post my old work online, it’s just too embarassing) I’ve done this slideshow dozens of times, and yet I always get nervous beforehand, there’s something about showing your work to others that is the mental equivalent of walking a plank.
At the end of the slideshow, I always do a short Q&A so students can ask me any questions. One question I got yesterday was how I had time to do all of this; between family, teaching, my studio practice, etc. I’ve been thinking about it since yesterday, and I think it all boils down to having tremendous self-discipline and focus. I feel strongly that if you’re mentally determined enough, you can make it happen despite how little time you may feel you have. Physical and technical skills are important, but it’s your mindset that really matters. Let’s face it, there will always be some excuse you can come up with, or something that you can blame for why you aren’t doing what you want to do. You can blame lack of time, lack of resources, the ham sandwich you ate yesterday for lunch. The way I see it, at the end of the day I’m the one responsible for what I can accomplish. I find that very empowering.