Throughout my creative career as a photographer and designer, I've spent lots of time contemplating the process and meaning of art. “What is your art really about? Where is it going? What stands in the way of getting it there? Why does art sometimes just not get done?” Being an artist means constantly self-reflecting and learning how to turn obstacles into opportunities. Fort Wayne has a community of extremely talented artists, yet I see many artists giving up as soon as they've started and holding back, including myself. And also possibly why we don’t see a lot of collaboration between artists of different mediums here. If more of us took the time to self-reflect on a daily basis, we would gain the confidence needed to create art and most importantly, create the conversations necessary to bring artists together. What stands in the way of creating art? As I’m sitting here writing this, I am analyzing every detail, criticizing my thoughts and obsessing over every word. It’s called perfectionism. And it’s the worst, seriously. For years I have worn my perfectionist traits like a badge of honor, claiming that I was just “detail-oriented” or that “it was an essential trait in building my own business.” The truth is, it was the very thing that was holding me back. By requiring perfection, I had invited paralysis in my life. Finding reasons to procrastinate, since I had held on to this false idea that to not work is to not make mistakes. Art is human. Human is art. Art is error. Somehow I had taken excitement out of my work and set up limitations in my own success by doing so. Perfection is a flawed concept. It's an excuse. It's a cop out. It prevents artists from showing up for their themselves and their communities. Art exists in the process. So make messes. Make mistakes. In fact, celebrate them. Embrace imperfections. Try new things. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks. How do you turn these obstacles of creating art into opportunities? Confession. In addition to being a perfectionist, I am also a productivity and daily routine nerd. I am fascinated by how other creatives and doers managed to be such larger than life badasses. Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine is one of my favorites. It’s a beautiful blend of simplicity, self-reflection and balance. The biggest meaning that I take away from this routine, are the questions. “What good shall I do today? What good have I done today?” It’s brilliant. When I get caught up in my fears, not creating art because of perfectionism, comparing myself to other artists, being afraid to make mistakes and not showing up in my life, It’s normally because I didn't take the time to ask myself these questions. When we want to learn anything from history to math or whatever the topic is, we ask questions. We take notes. We study. Self-study is equally important. It allows us to show up for ourselves and then, in turn, for others. Turning obstacles into opportunities with our artwork starts with asking yourself the difficult questions, self-reflecting and starting conversations with others that lead to the creation of art. This is why I’m excited about the development of this online fine art community. Not only will it be a place for artists to share their own work and be inspired by the work of others, it also has the potential to get artists to think and create together. I’m curious, have any of you experienced times where you stopped making art? Or just quit altogether? Why did this happen? And what did you do to take those obstacles and turn them into opportunities?