New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, with as many as one-third of us abandoning them before the end of January. But according to experts, the problem isn’t that we don’t have enough will power; it’s that we aren’t setting the right goals. Too often, our resolutions are vague, unrealistic, or based on what we think society expects of us — rather than what’s meaningful to us as individuals.
With 2020 just around the corner, we asked ten artists to tell us about their New Year’s Resolutions and we found that the best resolutions were both universal and specific — ideas that can apply to all creatives, but also quite personal. Read on for our list of simple and surprising resolutions, set by artists for artists.
“I will create every single day.”
“When I started, I made at least one painting or sketch each day,” illustrator Alja Horvat remembers. “But as time passed and I became busier, I started drawing less and less. This year, I would like to change that by being more disciplined about my work. By drawing every day, I am also nourishing my creativity and making sure it doesn’t fade or ‘fall asleep.’ My New Year’s resolution is simple: paint every day!”
Make it yours: Even if it’s just ten minutes at a time, consider making art a part of your daily ritual.
“I will try something new.”
Artist Rachel Sender is perhaps best known for her “Potheads”–clay plant pots with unique faces and fun personalities–but going into 2020, she hopes to experiment more with a variety of media and techniques. “I’ve been making my Potheads for several years now, and although they are received with enthusiasm and I get lovely responses from my customers, I want to try out new ideas and implement more of my illustration work into my ceramic pieces,” she tells us.
“I would love for my two practices of illustration and ceramics to be merged together. I have become more and more aware that I am not the only one putting faces on plant pots, which is also a motivation to try out new ideas. I think any maker or creator will find it rewarding and motivating to work on new ideas to evolve and learn.”
Make it yours: Learn a new craft, and then incorporate it into your everyday art practice.
“I will put less pressure on myself.”
“Generally, any creator is a perfectionist, and she is going to drive herself crazy trying to make her work perfect,” letterer Olga Kovalenko admits. “But when you’re under that kind of pressure, it’s very easy to lose the joy of creativity.
“So next year, I’ll try to focus primarily on the process and enjoying it–without worrying so much about the result. The result might differ from what I initially desired or envisioned, but that’s how we surprise ourselves and discover the unexpected. My biggest resolution as an artist is ‘to take it easy’ in my creative process.
Make it yours: Spend one day each month to playing around in the studio and enjoying the art-making process–without any expectations whatsoever.
“I will focus more on personal projects.”
“I’d like to make a lot more time for experimentation and personal projects,” illustrator Jon Reinfurt tells us. “It’s something we all know we should do in order to keep the creative juices flowing and to continue to grow as artists, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and push it off to the side.
“The list of personal projects I’d like to develop and techniques I want to try out is starting to really pile up at this point, and it feels like it can’t be ignored anymore. I’m planning on restructuring my schedule to make room for at least one day (or hopefully two) a week to devote to some good old creative exploration!”
Make it yours: Make a list of personal projects you’d like to complete this year, and then set aside a regular weekly time to work on them.
“I will push myself outside my comfort zone.”
Iris Scott is known for pushing the boundaries as an oil finger painter, but going into the New Year, she’s feeling more ambitious than ever. “My New Year’s resolution this year is to pursue giants — paintings of massive size and complexity,” she says. “This year, I am welcoming the challenge of planning and executing enormous canvases in the seven to nine-foot range (at the high end, that’s around 100 square feet of canvas!).
“It’s time for me to take the training wheels off and start working on museum-scale work. I just don’t quite know exactly what I’ll be making, but what I do know is that I can’t stick to the small paintings: I have to challenge myself and get way out of the comfort zone.”
Make it yours: Experiment with larger formats, more complex projects, or brand new materials.
“I will take better care of myself.”
“My resolution as an artist has to do with paying attention to the things that make me feel good and having the patience and sensitivity to listen to myself and accept and respect my emotions,” collage and papercut artist Lucila Biscione tells us.
“A few months ago, I decided that when arriving at my studio, before starting anything, I would spend fifteen minutes of my morning meditating. Meditation is a practice that helps me disconnect with the outside world, enabling my creative process to be conducted in the most honest way possible.”
Make it yours: Institute a personal self-care ritual that you do before entering the studio each day, whether it’s exercising or meditating or listening to music.
“I will join a creative community.”
“My goal for next year is to find more connection with other artists,” painter and illustrator Katie Vernon explains. “Most days, I work alone and after a while, it can feel quite isolating. Although I enjoy the solitude, being able to chat with fellow artists about juggling multiple gigs or dealing with orders or the excitement of finding a new favorite paintbrush fills my soul.
“To follow through on this resolution, I have a few art friends who I chat with occasionally, but whom I’d like to chat with more regularly. I’m also going to attend more local art events to meet fellow creatives, as well as a large illustration conference to actually meet the friends I have made online.”
Make it yours: Join Skillshare or attend an in-person workshop to meet like-minded creatives, and initiate conversations with artists you admire. Ask for feedback!
“I will support other artists.”
As Zoey Philippou, the artist behind the sustainable fashion line Cherry and Mint, reminds us, resolutions can extend well beyond your own creative practice. In the coming year, she hopes to open a concept store and creative studio for her brand and others to develop and expand their work.
“It’s important to understand that we live in a world where almost everything is mass-produced and where big companies steal work by designers almost every day,” she tells us. “Creating a space that will host small indie brands is a great start to show support to other artists. The ultimate goal is to help showcase their work and to educate more people to move away from mass-produced pieces and support small brands and artists instead.”
Make it yours: Spread the word about artists in your network by hosting a pop-up shop in your area or a print sale online–or start a blog where you can showcase a different creative each week.
“I will focus on projects that fulfill me creatively.”
“My New Year’s Resolution this year is going to be to focus myself and my work,” Rebecca Ziemer, the clay artist behind the brand Becky Zee, says. “In retrospect, I realize that I have, far too often, let side projects distract me from creating a cohesive body of work that really tells my story.
“Knowing who you are is so important, and being able to present yourself in a clear manner allows your customers to find you and connect with you in a much more powerful way. Moving forward, I plan to be much more intentional about choosing where to focus my energy, and to put it in a few projects that really make me happy.”
Make it yours: Only say “yes” to projects that excite you, and use your energy to make them the best they can be.
“I will strive to find more joy through my work.”
Many of the artists we interviewed returned again and again to the same theme: joy. In the midst of stress and deadlines, they longed to get back to the basics and remember the reason they got started in the first place. “My resolution is to create more works about joy and embodying the reality I want to see in the world through my work!” illustrator Loveis Wise tells us. “I plan to see it through by being more patient and loving to myself in my work process.”
Make it yours: Create from a place of joy and positivity–and then share it with others.
Resolving to make 2020 your most creative year yet? Skillshare has thousands of classes that will help you get a head start.
Thumbnail/Cover image by Loveis Wise.
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