Art Matters (with apologies to Neil Gaiman)

All rights reserved: Chris Riddell and Neil Gaiman from the book “Art Matters”

As an artist, I always strove for perfection in the unhealthiest of ways. This often leads to a kind of paralysis that prevents me from putting my work out there, thinking that my work is never good enough. My partner of 18 years has always told me to put out work no matter what just to get it out but I have always resisted because I felt quality’s always best. I have several novels that have been edited to death and still languishing in my digital drawer.

Then again, he would argue, what is quality if nobody ever gets to read it or no one ever gets to see my work? Or worse, the world outside of my circle never gets to know Annamaria Alba the artist because I was too afraid to put out “imperfect” work. It’s not as if quantity vs quality meant I made bad work, he argued.

Over the years, I have had close friends who pushed me to get my work out into the world. One friendship even ended because he believed so much in me that when I failed to do as I said I would do (that was to churn out novels every month), for the longest time, he got upset. I thank these friends. These are the people who believed in me. And if they could do that for me, why couldn’t I?

It’s that quest for perfection which is the bane of any artist.

I suppose I got my wake up call when two days ago, I bought Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell’s book “Art Matters.” It’s about making good art and putting it out there to share to the world. Because art does matter.

Not to mention, I also just had a conversation earlier today with another close friend who is also a nationally known poet about the need to put out work no matter what.

I suppose art is about courage. It’s about sharing to the world what you know to be true deep within your soul.

Perfection has nothing to do with it. If we, as artists of whatever medium waited for perfection, we’ll never get anything out.

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