Art can be transformative when artists take an active role in what ultimately is an ongoing creative process. If you’re still copying others or repeating your own early successes, you’re not growing. It’s difficult to recognize when your creative work is derivative of the limited influences closest to you, unless you make moves toward expanding your frame of reference. Seek feedback from other artists. Take ownership of your tastes by studying the greats, even those whose work may not align perfectly with your own interests, and most certainly those whose work stands as a direct affront to the meaning and purpose you search for through your creative endeavors. The smaller your frame of reference, the more likely you are to endlessly repeat what you already know, which ultimately is merely yourself. Self-indulgence is a tricky thing, because it super-charges the ego, but it does absolutely nothing for growth.
For most of the year the temperature in Buffalo, NY where I live, is cooler than Omaha, NE where I was born and raised. Surprisingly though, the winter months in Buffalo are slightly warmer than November – February in Omaha. As I type, it’s zero degrees in Omaha and 11 in Buffalo. Including four years I spent in Kansas City, MO attending Art School, I’ve now lived away from Omaha almost as many years as I spent there during my formative years. Every year around this time, I travel to Omaha for Christmas, spend a few days with loved ones, then turn around and head back to Buffalo to greet a brand new year. Buffalo is home now, but Omaha is where I return to reconnect with the people and places that raised me.
In Buffalo and in my other travels, I’ve grown and changed in many ways, but I’m still the same person I always was. I long for the sound of thunderstorms that roll in from the high plains of Nebraska and shake you from your sleep. I listen for the familiar voices that reassured me as a child. It is colder in Omaha this time of year, but I have come to search for the warmth of home. Thank you to all my family and friends who love me for who I am and welcome me with open arms.