My Art Sucks

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How many times have you heard this?

My Art Sucks
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Someone you admire moans about how their art sucks. And you look at their stuff and want to pop your eyeballs out and stick them in their head so they can see how good their stuff really is.

Sound familiar?

Or perhaps you ARE one of those people? Those people who TRULY BELIEVES that their art is a blight upon this earth? That everything you produce is a twisted travesty that mocks its own potential?


Have you ever wondered why these people don’t seem to see their own progression? Or if it’s happening to you, do you ever wonder why you don’t seem to ever actually get good?

Wonder no more!

You’re dealing with the helix of skill and taste.

On one hand, you have skill.

My Art Sucks Skill Taste HelixAs you practice and develop in all things, your skills improve. This happens in fits and starts and rarely ever goes on a smooth trajectory. There are peaks and plateaus all over the place. And that’s okay.

On one hand, you have a sense of taste.

Appreciation. An eye for quality. This also improves and changes over time, and rarely in a straight line.

What’s more, these two patterns interact.

As your skill grows, you can track it with your sense of appreciation. As it reaches the edge of your appreciation, it slows down. Your brain feels satisfied – or at least not as pissed off as it could be. It’s “OKAY I GUESS”.

Then your taste continues to grow. It transcends your skill levels – and this makes you feel that everything you do looks shit. This is the “DANG I SUCK” stage.

Both of these stages are transitory and will even out over the long-term.

Art changes as taste and skill develop

Artistic DNABut some people never get that far.

Because at the first part of any creative attempt is a danger zone I call the “FAILURE VALLEY”. This is where your taste grows faster than your skill right out the gate. So many people hit this bit, try their hardest, see no improvement, and quit.

But the truth is that as you keep developing your style, you’ll keep climbing on two fronts. Skill and taste. And as one plateaus, the other kicks in. Over and over again.

Taste and skill are the building blocks of your art.

Like DNA, they’re such a fundamental part of your every day that you don’t even notice them. You don’t see how they interact unless you look real close. You don’t see how one drives the other.

So stop for a moment.

Take a look at the last thing you made. Then take a look at the first thing you made. Look at the progression in both taste and skill that got you there. And then, keep going. Improve your skill, or improve your taste.

Soon you will find that you can not stop.

It’s in your DNA.