The work that is done, the art that is created, in the end, must exhibit itself in each piece that you do. Your intention, your philosophy, your written or verbal insight or musings mean little or nothing if the work does not take the viewer there. All that really matters is the work.
Is what you create good enough? Are you being brutally honest with yourself as you explore? One of my oldest friends said to me “Each of us is our own creative gatekeeper. How demanding we are of ourselves has everything to do with the quality of the work produced.” I believe this to be a foundation tenant for all artists. I am suspicious of work that is too slick, too easy and is too clever. I am not impressed with artists that produce endless variations on a theme that was once meaningful, but is now commercial in its orientation towards relentless volume or continued acclaim or recognition, rather than real exploration and growth.
I am not concerned with a particular style or approach. I am focused on a personal exploration and hopefully within that journey growth is realized.
My work seems to be like a river that has many pools and currents, yet it all seems to move in the same direction over time. I do not care if a particular exploration is not consistent with the main body of work. If I am doing my job as an artist then there should be an endless number of visual explorations that surprise viewers. In the river of creativity the swirls and eddies are often times the most interesting detail.
I try to plumb all that I can in exploring a particular approach and then move on. It starts to become a repeat or too familiar and I back away to go within myself and try another direction. I know that in the end it is the only way to truly grow. The growth and exploration is, in the end, my ultimate goal.
John Bodkin holds a MFA from the University of Tulsa and a BFA from Ringling School of Art. He has taught at Pepperdine University, Malibu, and Cameron State College in Lawton, OK.