I’ve come to the conclusion after many years of ignoring such things, that I kind of like what I call ‘soft’ challenges. You know, when someone casually mentions something’s going on that you’d never have thought of participating in – until they told you about it. Or that some sort of competition totally unrelated to what you do has been announced and for some reason your name was mysteriously added to the list of recipients. Or someone mentions in the course of conversation they’re looking for an artist to create something they know full well isn’t in your wheelhouse. This keeps happening to me. And in each case it generally takes a while to sink in and then I think to myself, ‘Hey, I think I could do that,’ or ‘Why not give it a try!’
So, in the last couple of years I’ve accepted a whole bunch of ‘Soft’ challenges: I’ve designed and installed a low voltage lighting system for a sculpture garden. Happily it’s all still working! I’ve attempted several new styles of photography and compositing that required learning many elements of Photoshop that I’d barely explored before. That resulted in 3 awards in one year. I entered a local sculpture initiative for which I designed four huge internally illuminated pieces; much to my surprise it went on to be one of the winners. Lastly I provided a ‘starry night sky’ ceiling mural for a downstairs loo for some very good friends. My rather unique interpretation – which incidentally is not of a night sky – has now been installed. I’ve christened the room The Cistern Chapel.
The moral of this story is that no matter how far outside your ball park or comfort zone something is, give it some consideration; have a conversation with yourself and then just do it. If you don’t, you’ll never know how good your contribution might have been.