[Today’s featured artwork for Day 2 of the 365 Days Project is by Serena Kovalosky]
The sculptural piece pictured above is one of mine. It was a departure from my usual work, which made it a challenge to create and raised all sorts of doubts about my validity as an artist. What started off as a “mistake” ended up pushing the boundaries of my artistic practice. It’s the perfect image for today’s post on the 365 Days Project.
#2 – The Artist in me knows how to embrace my mistakes.
As I learned to work through them over the years, I found they often become magnificent doorways to something I’ve never tried before, leading me to fascinating discoveries and truly unique work. If I’m not making “mistakes” once in a while, I’m playing it too “safe.”
Jazz legend Miles Davis never feared mistakes. “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.”
It took over a decade but I only recently began to truly understand this piece and have completely let go of what I thought it should be. It was originally named “Organica” which is a generic name for an organic form but didn’t capture the essence of the piece. As I was updating my inventory, I decided to rewrite its description and my original influence for the piece came to me. It ws originally inspired by puffball mushrooms I loved to stomp as a child. At the time I created it, I wanted it to encompass deep symbolism, not some childhood memory. But as I embraced that memory, I realized that it needed to be honored, so I renamed the piece, “Gilded Puffball.” Much better.
Serena Kovalosky’s artwork can be viewed at: www.kovalosky.com
The 365 Days Project
In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.
Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.
Artist Credits for the images included in this post:
Serena Kovalosky, New York, USA
Carved gourds, gold alloy gilding, bitumen stain, pine cone petals
‘As I learned to work through them over the years, I found they often become magnificent doorways to something I’ve never tried before, leading me to fascinating discoveries and truly unique work. If I’m not making “mistakes” once in a while, I’m playing it too “safe.’ Mistake Making can be both joyful and freeing. Improvisation is an example. To improve is not to have a polished end, it s the process of exploring patterns and combinations that one may have never tried before. Isn’t it so part of the living force to explore, to relish surprises. One PBS program some time ago presented how a Japanese student worked on a math problem that was hard for him. As the student stood at a blackboard and struggled his classmates cheered him on and the teacher encouraged and praised his mistakes, this went on until he got it right. This was an inspiring story to me. The experience of failure, is it not tied to social conditioning? During my elementary school experience I felt such shame when I made mistakes. It was important to achieve, excel etc. Learning process has changed some since the ’70’s. Here is a fairly recent article https://www.pbs.org/…/its-okay-to-make-mistakes-how… I find the message here quite inspiring and I think applicable to creative pursuits. Mistake begins with the letter “M” -like MMMagic!!!🎩
Yes to Mistakes as Magic!! I, too, was terrified of making mistakes as a student and into adulthood. It might have been the era – we were all pushed to work hard and excel. It’s exhausting when mistakes are not part of the process! Thank you for sharing the excellent PBS article, and for your wonderful writing! – SerenaK