Saturday, 27 March 2010

Invest in the process, not in the outcome

A set-back on the journey

I have been working for many months on a series of works on California for my exhibition “Californian Dream”. After months of going back and forth and a couple of set-backs, Mr. Darren Edwards, the House Manager of the Swindon Art Centre, had sent me the confirmation for an exhibition in June (date: Friday 4th June between 9am - 5pm - Take down: Saturday 3rd July between 10am - 1pm).

This was my main exhibition for 2010.

The entrance of the Swindon Art Centre

Everything was coming together. I had ordered most of the frames needed and I was designing the invitation and about to send an announcement to various websites when I received an email from Mr. Darren Edwards on Friday telling that my exhibition is cancelled:

“Unfortunately I am now unable to honour the planned exhibition scheduled to take place in June / July at the Arts Centre.

We are about to go through a re-development of the ground floor which includes the gallery spaces. The work has been moved forward now that plans have been completed and unfortunately will mean those areas are closed to the public whilst work is carried out.”

This could have just been another delay, but the end of the email is more worrying, as Mr. Edwards added:

“We are currently not sure if we will still have hanging space for exhibitions after the renovation but I will be in touch with you if / when we start taking bookings again.”

This is bad news not only for me but for all artists in Swindon because the Art Centre is currently the only public space available in town for local artists.

The answer is: Invest in the process, not in the outcome

A few days ago, I watched a TED video of a talk by Srikumar Rao titled “The riddle of hard wired happiness”. You can watch it on the TED conference website.

What he explains is really interesting and true. In a nutshell, the “If... then” model is flawed (“If I had a studio, I could paint more”; “If I had more money, I would be happier”... Sounds familiar?)

While outcomes are outside of our control, actions are within our control. So, instead of investing – emotionally - in the outcome, we have to invest in the process. In other words, do the best you are capable of, choose and enjoy the journey.

I enjoyed the journey of creating a series of works for my “Californian Dream” exhibition and I intend to continue until I complete the series.

I now need to take action to find another venue to host my exhibition. At the same time, I am going to take actions and do my best to have the exhibition space maintained at the Swindon Art Centre. I already sent some questions to Helen Miah, the Head of Culture for Swindon, and will then bring this to the attention of the media if necessary.

Both of these journeys are worthwhile.

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Steve Washburn said...

That's an unstoppable attitude! I trust something truly good will come from all this.

Celeste Bergin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Celeste Bergin said...

sorry--my last comment had a big error so I deleted it.

This is an exceptional article--I thank you for the TED link. I keep hearing about TED (very popular!) but I have not seen a lecture yet. I will watch this one.
I really appreciate artists who tell the entire story --not only the "upside". I like what you've written today and it definitely gives me food for thought.

usetty said...

Because of your positive attitude, I am sure that something better is lined up for you. All the best.

Rebecca said...

Dear Sir,
Thank you for posting. It was up front and candid. I appreciate hearing that, given your talent, you still have a difficult time getting your work shown.
It would be GREAT for you to show your work here in Hawaii. I wonder if, when , how??? I would love to see that happen. How much money would it take?

Benoit Philippe said...

Thank you all for your encouraging comments. Benoit