Please make ugly Art

Today, make something ugly. Do it from your heart, but please make ugly art.

Make sure it make you say “bleh” when you look at it.

Ok, ok, ok. You’ve got me, I’m not serious. I really want you to make things that you find and feel are beautiful.

After all-I claim “create beauty” to the mountains and high hills every day of my life.

Where this comes from is yet again another GREAT conversation that my husband and I were having one evening.

Jason (my husband) is a music educator. He teaches saxophone lessons in Asheville to people of all ages….he’s also a yoga instructor. He’s a teacher and a born healer and quite incredible at what he does.

(We are at 4 years of being together today, so I’m gushy, and my mind is blown at how much I love this man. Check out part of our story here.)

Ok, so he & I were discuss the art making process over our delicious vegetarian dinner one night at home.

Because, I was in a bit of a slump with my creations. Honestly, I felt like what I was doing was dumb and no one “liked” it when I shared on Facebook, and my sales this month have been down….and…and…you get the picture.

Jason told me that an instruction he gives to his saxophone students when they feel the same way (perhaps trying to over perfect, like me) is to make a sound. And possibly, make an ugly sound.

99.99% of the time the music students make beautiful sound, instead. They make…so to speak…their greatest expression at that moment.

Why this instruction? Well, for me the biggest lesson in this is that the students get out of their own way and let the music come forth.

A prayer of mine lately has been: Please God help me to get out of my own way for the light to shine.

creative process

Here are the lessons of this intimate conversation that I want you to take home with you today:

If you can get over making it perfect, you will make it yours

If you make ugly art, it usually is someone else’s favorite piece

You may feel like an abstract art piece in your soul, but the Divine knows your order

When you move from the place of being in your head to being in your heart, that is where art occurs

And yes, life is kinda ugly at times. Social media leads us to believe everyone walks around perfect, rich, losing weight, and on great diets all day every day. It’s not true. Life sometimes is like an ugly art piece that make you just run for the Renaissance museum.

Don’t worry, we all go through this process.

So give yourself a break, and please please please–make ugly art.

Do you want to make ugly art sometimes? If so, let me know and speak your mind in the comments below!

6 Replies to “Please make ugly Art”

  1. Jason Ross Martin says: Reply

    Great blog, Rose. This reminded me of the section of one of Julia Cameron’s books where she encouraged the prayer of “God, please take care of the quality of the work, I will focus on the quantity.” Her point was to show up at the page, over and over, as a ritual, as a date of expectancy, taking ourselves seriously, and not getting to caught up in what is or is not happening. Of course, this is harder when, like you, someone attaches their physical paycheck to the results of creative labor. Underneath it all though is the unique construct that makes art so important, and sometimes so elusive: you have to do it with the mindset that you have plenty of time to “play” as if it doesn’t matter at all if anything ever comes of it, other than the experience you have of making the work. And yet, as a professional, how can you utterly detach your connection to what the result of the art will be, and whether or not it is marketable and therefore literally valuable enough to justify its creation. In the end, I believe it is in the “both/and” that sanity can be found, not in the “either/or” trap the mind loves to put us in, i.e. either this next teapot sells immediately or it was a waste of time. What you are doing is so obviously not a waste of time, especially the part where you are reaching out and journaling about your experiences and philosophies so regularly with such an uplifting tone. I’m praying right now for your process to lead to more and more undeniable products, including blogs and teapots and whatever else you decide to do, because I believe it is all deeply valuable and worthy!

    1. Jason, your comment brings joy and tears to my eyes. You know this process so well, and the faith part of it all is the biggest for me. Thank you, I have yet to read any Julia Cameron’s books, but I think that is coming soon. I so appreciate your support!

  2. For my students, it seems that the permission to make an ugly sound equates to the permission to make a “mistake.” This removes a common block I see where the student is literally crippled to act fully by their fear of mistakes. Plus, it makes them laugh. 🙂

    1. I love this dear Jason! It is so inspiring for me to 1. be your life parter and 2. watch how you foster such incredible growth in your students. Thank you for this lesson!

  3. Armine says: Reply

    This is absolutely beautiful and resonates with me. As a teacher of Mathematics I always had to correct what is “wrong” as Mathematics is a little less forgiving than Art. When I learned Zentangle it coincided with a time that our school had received $6,000,000 in grants. Albeit we teachers were pushed to use it in our classrooms. How do you integrate Math and Art? Geometry was the answer and like Jason said I suddenly became the teacher that instead of finding fault, they could not do anything wrong. I liked myself as a teacher and taught them Zentangle. My students loved the time spent on art. They did so much better in class in anticipation of few moments of creative success. The art they created won an award for them and me. their art got displayed in the City of Pasadena for a year. Spirit is never wrong.

    1. Rose C says: Reply

      I love your story, Armie, thank you for sharing it. Sacred geometry is fascinating and so connected to our spirit. I love your zentangle pieces, too. Keep them coming!

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