Bluebells, 8 x 8″ monoprint
“Goals in life as in art should be specific in order to hope to attain them.”
– Raynald Murphy
Do you have goals, specific or otherwise, for your art? What things in life are better served with goals and which are not, or at least do not require them? Which camp does art fall into?
Setting goals as an artist can be a risky business since goal setting is often associated with issues of success/failure and acceptance/rejection. But isn’t setting goals a critical component of making progress and effecting change in anything we do?
It’s possible to have different types of goals, some externally focused and some more internal. For example, if you are trying to have a commerical career as an artist, you will probably be more successful if you identify specific, measurable goals – have a certain number of shows, be in a certain number of galleries, etc. This way you can identify and take the necessary steps to achieve those goals and make appropriate course corrections as needed. You may also have personal goals having nothing to do with the outside world. These might include developing certain skills, finding your unique style, using art to communicate with your inner self, etc. In either case, you are responsible for setting the goal, so you get to define what constitutes success.
Personally I believe that most things in life are more satisfying if done with some goals in mind. Otherwise, I feel that I’m drifting aimlessly and letting the world dictate what happens. The challenge is to manage the process of achieving your goals without allowing what others define as success become your definition. As I discussed in my last posting, thinking of a particular result as an “outcome” instead of a success or failure can help you see each result as just another step. It is important to remain the sole judge of progress in achieving the goals you’ve chosen.