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  • Kirsten Johnston

A question of quantity, not quality

Sometimes you hear something that turns your thinking upside down.

We are often told that ‘it’s quality, not quantity’ that matters. There are many reasons for, and innumerable applications of, this aphorism. It is what leads to excellence in all sorts of fields.

I was listening to The Inspiration Podcast by artist, Miriam Schulman. Her guest was Alyson Stanfield, artist, artistic business coach and author. Her view of the quality/quantity question, for creatives anyway, offered a new perspective.

As artists, only a percentage of our works are successful. It is unrealistic to think that everything we produce is joy-worthy or sale-worthy . I don’t know what that percentage is: I guess it differs for each practitioner (when I was writing poetry, the rate I worked on was one in eight to ten). The implication is that to produce a body of work of which we can be proud, we need to paint significantly more than the number required to achieve our goal. Additionally, when one breaks it down into bottom-line financial terms, the results indicate that there needs to be a fair bit of creating going on.

But it’s not only about the numbers. It is only through quantity, says Stanfield, that we achieve quality. By stretching and strengthening our creative muscle regularly we constantly improve our practice and move beyond that portion of our output that is less that we’d hoped. We need to ‘allow ourselves to suck’ in order to make progress and experience the results we desire.

So it makes me think that I don’t really have time to be wallowing about in this cafe! Haha! Onward!

Until later,

Kirsten

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  • Kirsten Johnston Arts