March 7, 2017. This is the day we turned 48 and our professional collaboration turned 18. We’re used to sharing milestones, so much so that they don’t hold a lot of significance to us. Hey, it’s my birthday! Big deal, it’s mine too, what do want to do for your birthday? You may be able to see how celebrating one’s birth, from the ego’s perspective, isn’t very special when you’re a twin.
But the birthday of dedicating one’s life to creativity, now that’s special. And times two? That’s monumental!
The birthday of dedicating one’s life to creativity, now that’s special.
We know we have a lot to be grateful for, in being able to celebrate 18 years of creating art. We have to thank our parents and some of our siblings for their patience in letting us run loose with our imaginations. We also need to thank our parents for not being able to provide for us beyond the basic necessities. Besides food, a home and hand me downs, everything else was up to us.
As kids we didn’t have an appreciation for how this might serve us in our future. At the time, we only resented it. Don’t want to wear your older sisters’ (or brother’s!) clothes? Go babysit and buy yourself new ones. Want to go out to eat? Use your paper route money. Need school supplies? Get them yourself. We were the youngest babysitters, newspaper deliverers, pet sitters and yard keepers our neighbors knew. But we were good at our work and we were motivated.
And that necessity of working for what we wanted has served us to this day. Maybe a little too much. For 18 years, we’ve had the idea that for everything we think we need, we’re only to depend on ourselves to provide it. Which means, if we’re going to be career artists, we need to keep our minds open for creative flow, while making sure we can pay all the bills (times two). Can you see the conflict there? How can we let our minds wander down the road of imagination if we’re always worried about earning money? Somehow, we instinctively learned enough ninja mind tricks to override this constant worry well enough that we didn’t give up and go back to our day jobs. And now time is beginning to reward us for not walking away from our work – we’ve done this long enough, we’ve learned we can trust. The more we’re open to inspiration and offering it everything we’ve got, the more we seem to be rewarded with results. Often the rewards have nothing to do with money, but somehow, the bills always get paid.
The more we’re open to inspiration and offering it everything we’ve got, the more we seem to be rewarded with results.
Turning 48, and working our entire lives towards becoming or being artists has proven to us that making art is hard work. We have to show up every day whether we feel inspired or not. Now and again an idea drops in, and it’s all we can do to pin it down before it disappears. Most of the time though, it’s just about doing the busy work of making marks – experimenting, layering, removing, and arranging, over and over again- until they start making sense. These pieces have no concern for time. These pieces keep us up at night. These pieces give us full body sweats from laboring under their weight. Nearly every one of them has made us want to quit because somewhere along its creation we think it looks awful. But, because of our practice and the lessons we’ve learned, we keep working. And the imagery eventually arrives. And when the art is finally hung on the wall, that’s when we forget the struggle, and we get to celebrate the piece for what it really is.
We feel fortunate that we get to celebrate 18 years as professional artists while being able to work together. As is our tradition, we take the time to consider what the anniversary really means. It means we had been given another year to learn, and we have a new year to incorporate and aspire to the value of those lessons. Year number 19 is going to be a great one. We can feel it!