Disclaimer: I decided to move some of the content I had on my opening page towards this posting. While I try to avoid sounding like I’m just rambling … I want to keep a record of it nonetheless.
Each year presents an ever increasing set of challenges for me in all areas of life, specifically how I survive as an artist and 2016 was no exception. I’ve set out to try and accomplish as many projects as I have hoped. And I guess being an artist, it always falling short of my expectations. But looking back, my story is probably no different than many other artists. Lots of hours spent holding down a job to pay the bills, not always available to see friends or catch that movie, staying tuned in with whatever exercise regimen (in my case, skating), making sure the cats are fed… and spoiled, constantly managing the artistic environment (in every aspect: hours on research, time at the museums, time on this website, etc.) all to just spend the precious few moments creating art.
Indulging in some self reflection. I ask myself all the time if it’s all worth it. Maybe it’s a little bit of a fantasy on my behalf that one day someone will notice that what I’ve done will find it interesting. I want to share something with you and have you respond in a way that lifts your spirits for a brief second before life continues, as it always has, but leave you changed in some small degree that you look at things just a little different than how you did before. That maybe life or whatever or whoever is around you, has beauty and poetry because I think life should have that. My take on this is that we are in such a hurry to get somewhere that we don’t appreciate enough beauty in the “little things” in life.
It’s a joy to create and I think it’s the challenge too; to capture that fleeting idea in my head. I like the idea of how to take the raw materials of what once was just tubes of color, brushes, pencils and paper and turn it to something that didn’t exist moments ago. So perhaps one day that rough sketch will turn into something exciting, something extra-ordinary.
Steven Lu, RN
I keep hearing that for a lot of artists is that it’s a tough world out there by making a living on art alone, which can get really discouraging when I’m constantly reminded of that. It seems that very few make it. And of course, those that do, deserve all the rewards from their hard work. There are no shortcuts. Until that day comes, all that can sustain this creativity is that I have to remind myself why I love doing it in the first place. I always want to be better but I’m just happy just doing it and not worrying whether or not it’s good enough for someone else.
Being a nurse, I found out that you have to love some aspect of it to survive in this job. I don’t have a quick answer as to what the job means to me, except that if it helps me afford the time and expense to work as an artist then I will have to work with that. For now that will have to be enough of a reason. It’s a tough place to be in to hold down a job that often times don’t line up with our artistic creativity.
To rationalize this journey as much as I can is that everyone comes into this world with a unique set of circumstance. I’m willing to get through certain hardships for which I believe is worth sacrificing for until I can create the opportunity to do what I love to do full-time and flourish. But if this is the best that it gets, I can still be proud of what I’ve done.
The only thing that is a drawback is that it taxes my energy. It has a negative effect on my skating in that sense. I work on the night shift which doesn’t really help. And so juggling everything that has to get done slows down my momentum to do art. And I have to admit, most times I wonder how much energy I have left to see friends regularly too. But perhaps I’m in good company. I doubt the likes of Michelangelo or Da Vinci spent most of their time socializing anyway. But again, if art was easy, more people would be doing it.
It’s nice to be on the ice:
Skating seems to offset some of the isolation and some of the stresses of caregiving. Skating has been a love of mine since I was 12. There also have been many times when I did not like it at all. I still struggle to make the time but I could thankfully say I haven’t really hung up my skates. These days I see the benefits of just being able to move around, both physically and mentally. I do want to get better at some of the spins and jumps I used to do. I have met some wonderful people in the skating world and I think the sport has inspired many positive qualities to my art work overall. And the coaches I have had in the past all have steward me through life since I was a kid. (I would be remiss if I did not mention particular names of people who have helped shaped my joy of skating: My former boss, a continuing source of inspiration and friend JoJo Starbuck, my former coaches and friends: Darlene Parent, Denise Beaumont, Nina Newby, James Schilling, Emanuele Ancorini, Kenny Moir, Maria O’ Connor).
Now currently with my coach Adam Leib, he has given a lot to work on. He challenges me to focus in the most unique way; to utilize my energy properly, not to fight with technique but to surrender to it and to never settle for mediocrity. With exceptional wisdom, he continues to teach me how to handle those moments when I’m not having a great day and there are many days when I’m struggling tremendously; when I can’t seem to focus or I have considerable doubt to try my best. He also teaches me how to get out of my own way. Such are the same moments a painter goes through too with art. Skating and art go hand in hand. Skating is art. I imagine he would make a most effective art teacher because he follows the same creativity and motivates people to strive for our personal best. He keeps the wonder of the sport alive because he’s passionate about it.
Check out his website: www.adamleibskating.com