What is a mistake? Webster’s says a mistake is a wrong step, something incorrect. Are there mistakes in art? Is there really a right or a wrong in art? Think about it. There are rules and principles and supposed guidelines when you learn to make art. Then you find that breaking the rules makes for another kind of art. How does that work? By definition, if you break a rule, you are making a mistake. But, what if that mistake is, or leads you, to art? If the very nature of being an artist is to creatively express yourself, find a vision, establish a voice or a new reality, how can you be wrong if it is YOUR expression? Perhaps the world does not always like what you do, does that make you wrong? Or are you dealing with a selective audience? If you are not accepted, is there a mistake involved? Exactly who has the right to say what is right or wrong, good or bad, boring or sensational in the art world? And where does the rightness and wrongness of it all come from in the first place?
Dali says,“we should not fear mistakes, there are none”. I agree. I think that there are no real mistakes in art. Mistakes are often gifts in disguise, if we have the latitude to receive them as such. Mistakes are invitations, not limitations, to other directions, other solutions, different possibilities to explore. Mistakes force us to engage other parts of our brains, or perhaps turn our over-extended brains off and float with intuition for awhile! An artist must have the courage to step off his path and embrace where he may have been thrown. I believe that things happen for reasons in art. Often, an extended struggle produces unexpected results. And anything different or unexpected can lead to a revelation, a new way of seeing, a new world to inhabit, a new playground, a new voice to be heard, or even a horrific nightmare to explore. Mistakes ?? Be careful what you call them.
“I have made many wonderful mistakes that have changed my way of working.” Ken Merfeld