Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Small Steps

If someone unfamiliar with any of my work were to view an unidentified selection of my drawings from ten years ago, or five, when I was working primarily in ink and graphite, then view a selection of recent pieces, say from the last year or two- Would they sense or imagine or expect them all to be the work of the same artist? I wonder.

If not, well, that’s probably a good thing. Considerations of marketability aside, if my work isn’t continuing to evolve in a way that’s perceptible in the finished pieces, then I probably haven’t learned or grown much in their doing.

I wish sometimes that the differences between a new piece and the last were more obvious, more radical, that the growth represented were greater. For me, growth has never seemed about big leaps, but a series of small steps. Like most aspects of personal artmaking, it’s hard to be objective about that; maybe I’m just too impatient, and not giving myself enough credit.

Dissatisfaction, though, is a good thing. I’m always trying to narrow that gap between what I want to achieve, and what I can. And as long as I’m continuing to move forward, small steps are okay too.

Keith Jarrett, interviewed by Ted Rosenthal for Piano and Keyboard, 1996

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