Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shawn Barber



I re-read Shawn Barber's artist statement/FAQ page recently. It's even more relevant today than in the past. With the uncertain economy leaving people in a funk, we need to remember that how we perceive the future reside within ourselves.

From Shawn Barber's website:

"Experience and risk taking precedes opportunity. Opportunity fosters growth, knowledge and confidence. Confidence is taking responsibilty for your choices and actions, knowing that the integrity of your decisions will solidify your personal aesthetic on life.

Everything in life comes down to choices.
Do I want to sit in front of the tv to get away from the monotony of everyday life?-
How long should I stay at the party, talking about the same old same, night after night?-
I hate my job, I hate my boss, I should be doing something else with my life, but just not right now.
I'll do it tomorrow, I'm really not in the mood, I'll deal with it later, I'm bored.
These statements are an example of possible choices and decisions.
These passive sentiments are felt by many.
I felt this way and said these same words.

In 1995, at twenty-five years old, I finally got off my ass, went back to school and started to take responsibility for my actions, my future and myself. It didn't happen overnight. It didn't happen in two years. Change comes from the willingness to allow new ideas, different opinions and maintaining an open mind to the infinite possibilities there are when one is willing to take chances. Believing in what you do and DOING what YOU want to do, creates opportunity and builds an empowering state of mind.


we do what we have to, to get by. it's too easy to give up right away. anything that is worthwhile takes time, patience and an open mind. life is not perfect and you will definitely have down times, that's part of it. what separates the successful people and the ones still working at coffee shops (i've had my share) is the belief in what you're doing. as long as you're true to yourself and believe in what you're doing- you will become successful. money comes and goes-it's not what is important; sure you've got to eat, but how many people can truly state that they get to do what they love to do every day and are making a living at it. i guess what i'm saying is don't go in thinking about$$$$, or copying someone else's style to make a quick buck, do what YOU do and the money will eventually come. that, and you'll respect yourself and won't regret believing in yourself.

I work every day-monday to monday, at least 12 hours a day. I paint every single day, sometimes a few hours- sometimes several. I'm at a point now where i'm working primarily on personal work and focusing on learning the craft of tattooing. I just took a break from teaching in the art school system, something that I've done for the past 8 years.


from september of 1997 to the present (01.01.08)- i've made over 900 paintings and illustrations. I keep a running log of each and every work i make, to know what i've done and to see where i'm going in my work. I look at these lists often and there are a ton of paintings that are just plain bad. through looking at my bad work and seeing what i don't like and what doesn't work for me- i try and not make the same mistakes / decisions that i had in the past. it's all about learning from yourself and listening to your own worst critic. i also have quite a few friends and colleagues that i show my work to- for feedback, comments and criticism. a lot of the times i may disagree with what they have to say or we have different tastes and opinions, but i trust their judgment and they are only trying to help. they may see something that i had totally overlooked, or i may be killing something or sometimes the piece is a dog and you have to allow yourself to become detached and analyze the work besides yourself. step away, take a break, go back to the work tomorrow- look at it with a fresh perspective- anything you can do to make each piece the best it can be, every time out. it's a challenge and you will never, ever have a winner all the time. but you have to realize that fact. you must also accept that you are the conductor of your work and your success. you are in control."

1 comment:

Mike Nicholaou said...

Very thoughtful piece, enjoyed what he had to say about life and work!! thanks for including it on your site
TBN