Make a work for one person, someone you admire, someone whose opinion and insight are of value to you. This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you know, but it helps. A good friend, a family member, a fellow artist. Limit your audience to one person. Audiences are often abstract and invisible. And sometimes, it turns out that the audience is only you, which can be deadly. By focusing on one person, your message will be personal and you’ll be able to communicate specifically.
Take a step. Ask yourself: what was I really aiming for? What do I want to tell? Often it turns out you’ve gotten caught in something: in the material, the medium, or the wrong storyline. With another medium or thought you might just hit the bull’s-eye.
To totally contradict the last tip: forget the story. Forget the why. Change the question of ‘why’ and ‘where does it come from’ to: ‘where do I want to go’ or, ‘what would I like to bring into being?’ Move forward instead of staying in the past!
Accept that, as an artist, you live in a world of paradox. You don’t have to be in control of every thought or action to make a good artwork. It might even occur that you’ll make something amazing without knowing how you got there. Imperfections and impairments can be the most fruitful elements in a work process or in an artwork. The most beautiful artworks are never completely waterproof.
Start something concrete.
Invite three artists to join in collaboration. Send something personal (a drawing, found photo, an object) to the other, asking them to deliver a visual response, a visual commentary. That person sends it on to the next, who in turn reacts to your contribution. In the meanwhile, the fellow artist has also sent you something that you’ll have to respond to. In the end, four artworks will be circulating within the group, one of which you’ll have initiated and three of which will be your response to what the other has sent you. This will help to divert your attention, to react on something you haven’t asked for but want to give, as it often goes in art.
If the above tips are ineffective, go on a journey. Go see something special. Of course, that doesn’t always have to be art.