Author and museum director Tom Finklepearl in conversation with artist Rick Lowe:

“Rick, quite frankly, you may look at things ten or fifteen times a day and see potential, but that is a tremendously optimistic outlook. Others might look ten times a day at the problems… and get depressed. But even for the most optimistic and active person, as you say, there is a difference between seeing potential and activating it.”

Tom Finklepearl, What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Collaboration (2013)

Optimistic thoughts and actions


Goals: Looking back, looking forward

Be strategically optimistic. Imagine and implement advantageous conditions.

In 2012, I inserted these goals and attitude reminders into my rotating desktop photos:

  • Be active and injury-free.
  • Forgive.
  • Do six studio visits.
  • Enter [art] competitions.
  • Have a strong show of killer new work.
  • Make work that answers, “What would I do with a solo show?”
  • Be open [to new experiences].
  • Practice kindness.
  • Embrace adventure.
  • Practice gratitude, not garbage.
  • Be strategically optimistic. Imagine and implement advantageous conditions.

Most of these were attended to with solid efforts, to varying degrees of success. Many will require more time, intention and attention. I take it as a sign that these are good reminders for me, as they are not too easily achieved nor unrealistically ambitious.

All still seem like good ideas to carry forward into 2013. They’re what positive psychologists call “self-concordant”—rather than reflecting societal demands, they are aligned with my professional and personal goals.

If you’re thinking about making New Year’s resolutions, Creative Capital’s goal-setting tips might be useful. I have been using their goal-setting strategies for the past few years and highly recommend that artists espouse and maintain the practice. It is like plotting a course on an open sea.