What is your artistic motivation? Has it always been the same, or has it changed? Artist Scott Conary would say that it has changed over the years. He describes a time when his artwork and his career came from a different place of motivation, that was before his daughter was born. Once she came into the world, Scott’s life, including his artwork took a new direction. In our conversation, Scott shares about his struggle with perfectionism, why every question doesn’t need an answer, the health difficulties that his daughter has faced from birth, and so much more.
The illusion of perfectionism
As a creative individual, you want your art to resemble the vision you have for it in your mind as much as possible. This can be both frustrating and exciting. When it comes together just right and looks exactly how you envisioned it – satisfying. On the rare occasion that it exceeds your expectations and imagination – ecstasy. My guest Scott Conary and I spent some time in our conversation around the subject of perfectionism. Scott explained how much the illusion of getting everything just right can derail the creative process. Scott will be the first to tell you that most of his artwork can’t be described as perfect. But because of the lessons he has learned, he would call them complete.
Every question doesn’t have an answer
Do you ever have a hard time silencing the noise in your head? Does your mind race with what feels like hundreds of questions or ideas? What do you do with those thoughts? My guest, Scott Conary spoke with me about this struggle. He told me about his battle to fight through all that noise and focus on what really matters. We both arrived at a consensus that not all questions need to be answered. You don’t have to follow every thought or idea down the rabbit hole. As difficult as it can be to resist that urge, it can be very freeing to just say “No” and bring your focus back to a singular goal or objective. When you are able to find this type of clarity, your artwork will benefit.
The experience that colored everything
Have you had a moment that changed the course of your life? Scott Conary’s daughter was born with “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.” He talked to me about her birth, and how that moment is the “Experience that colored everything.” As you can imagine, Scott and his wife had their world turned upside down with the diagnosis that came shortly after their daughter’s delivery. Scott was very gracious and transparent in our conversation. He shared about how the art he creates now holds a different meaning for him, it really shifted his artistic motivation. In what sounds like a contradiction, Scott says that his work has less significance but at the same time holds a new kind of meaning. The way Scott described it to me made perfect sense. As serious as his daughter’s condition is, Scott was quick to tell me how much joy she brings their family – at the time of this writing, she is seven years old and thriving.
Art as an avenue for healing
In light of the diagnosis that Scott and his wife received for their daughter, I wanted to ask Scott if creating art has contributed to healing on his journey. As you can imagine this was a difficult question to answer. Scott was gracious enough to give me an extended answer and discussion on this topic. Initially, Scott said that he didn’t necessarily see his creative pursuits as contributing to his healing process. However, the question resonated with Scott so much that he wanted to take another shot at answering it. On the second pass, Scott shared that he has experienced a sense of healing as he has taken his emotional trauma with him into the studio. Scott’s transparency and vulnerability were on full display and I was honored that he felt like he could trust me with such raw and honest responses.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:35] My introduction to this episode.
- [2:40] How did Scott get started with his art career?
- [4:20] Scott talks about family and career struggles.
- [9:30] What Scott tells prospective art students and those starting their art career.
- [12:40] Scott’s “Why”
- [17:50] Is painting “Fun?”
- [28:10] What is Scott’s daily routine?
- [33:00] The illusion of perfectionism.
- [37:30] Do all questions need answers?
- [41:50] Scott’s current projects and obsessions.
- [49:20] Scott talks about continuing his artwork and
- [56:20] The story behind Scott’s daughter’s health difficulties.
- [1:02:00] Has art contributed to healing in Scott’s life?
- [1:05:30] Scott gives another answer to art’s healing in his life.
This episode sponsored by:
Other artists mentioned on this episode
- Miles Davis
- Kurt Moyer
- Lucian Freud
- Diego Velazquez
- Daniel Sprick
- Quang Ho
- Alia El-Bermani
Resources Mentioned on this episode
Connect With Antrese
Workshops Featuring Scott in the next Six Months
- The Art School In Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA, May 5 – 7, 2017
- Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Otis, OR, June 29 – July 1, 2017
- Providence Art Club, Providence, RI, August 2017
- “Studio Speranza” , Lynn, MA, August 12 – 13, 2017
- Townsend Atelier, Chattanooga, TN, September 31 – October 1, 2017