Looking Forward to 2020

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2020.

A lot of people use this time of year to to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. When it comes to my creative self, I dislike setting goals. Art is too much of a fickle mistress to plan far ahead with enough certainty for setting goals.

Besides, in 2002 I set a new year’s resolution to never set another new year’s resolution. I kept that one, and I don’t see a reason to stop.

However, I won’t be completely rudderless—instead of goals I am adopting the following rules for dealing with my creative life. (Well, they are more like guidelines than actual rules.)

I will follow my interests, wherever they may lead.

So often goals are set like “I will create the 10 best LEGO shots I’ve ever done” or some such specificity. The thing is, at least for me, I don’t know if my interests will be the same on December 31 as they are on January 1. Three years ago I only shot LEGO, now I mainly shoot action figures. At the beginning of 2019 I had never built my own models to shoot, but by the end of 2019 I had completed two models, purchased several more and, in the meantime, painted several 3D-printed objects.

Who the heck knows what I’ll be interested in creating by the end of 2020. I may be building and shooting models. Going full circle and going back to LEGO exclusively is also a possible outcome. Heck, it may even be quitting my job, moving to Zambia and becoming an elephant farmer.

(Update: My wife says I am not allowed to move to Zambia and/or become an elephant farmer, so I guess we can strike that possibility off the list.)

It doesn’t matter what I create, as long as I create.

So far my main creative outlet has been what you see in this blog: toy photos, mixed with writing about toy photos. Will that continue? Who knows? I mean, it’s likely, as this hasn’t changed in years, and I still have a lot of ideas, but it may not be, and that’s OK.

Tying oneself to a particular genre or style simply because that’s what one is known for is folly. It is hard to grow doing the same thing over and over again. Variety is the spice of life (and the spice must flow!).

The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what I create. I am not a professional artist who depends on followers to buy my work and pay my bills. While I love creating what I create now, and sharing it with all of you, I have made no promises to create any specific works.

What I create is up for negotiation (between my muse, my pocketbook and my schedule). The only thing that is non-negotiable is that I create.

Deadpool and the Bear: A metaphor for 2020
… although negotiating with my depression is gonna be tricky.

Be true to thyself, the rest is bonus.

If anything comes from my work, then that’s just gravy. Or if you’d like another food metaphor, it’s icing on an already delicious cake. (I will also toss in the word “moist” here just for the folks that don’t like that word. Ain’t I a stinker?)

As I said, I create for me. Not for money, fame, social media follower counts or anything else. Just me. That is an incredibly powerful freedom and I aim to exploit it to the fullest.

I have the luxury of exploring my creative side unhindered by all but physics, economics (and my wife’s willingness to move to Zambia), so I’m going to follow my path wherever it leads.

I have found that being creative lets me understand myself. It has helped give me peace, and helped keep my depression at bay. It is a powerful force in my world, and being true to that will serve me well—at least from a certain point of view.

So, while I am freeing myself to create whatever I wish, the one thing I can guarantee is that what I create will be true to myself.

What are your insights for 2020?

Do you have goals, guidelines or other such insights into your own creative journey for 2020? If so, drop them in the comments.

[dave]

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8 Comments

  1. Not sure what is involved in becoming an Elephant Farmer, but I’m interested!
    I’m with you on goals, never liked them. I do like the idea of being creative and exploring where that leads me. Here’s to an amazing 2020!

  2. Alan Rappaport

    Cheers, Dave – and Happy New Year.

    These are excellent guidelines to follow, and I’m going to have to adopt a few of them myself. An additional goal I’ve added for myself, was to continue to learn and try new things. The last year I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten comfortable with my photography process and I wasn’t experimenting or leaning as much as I had been in previous years. I want to flip that on it’s head in 2020. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but perhaps I’ll find my own form of elephant farming this year 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Alan!

      Continuing to try new things is an important thing. They may not all work out, but I guarantee you’ll learn something important that will help you in the future (even if the lesson is simply “never again” – at least you know.)

      At this point I am kind of hoping “elephant farming” will become an axiom for learning new things 🙂

      Cheers

  3. Mary Wardell

    I’m impressed that Debbie is willing to go with you to Zambia! Seriously, your guidelines are good ones that are pretty much the way I feel about what I photograph, toys and other subjects. Here’s to a creative 2020!

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