I like to keep a throwback gallery not for Throwback Thursdays on Facebook or for reminiscence, but as a reminder that it's okay to share pieces we don't consider our best work. Whether that's because the photography isn't portfolio worthy or the execution of technique isn't professional or subjectively skilled enough to share or to represent us in the creative marketplace, our logic based reasons ultimately are immaterial. Rather, it's addressing releasing the stagnating feelings around inadequacy and unworthiness, the habit of perfectionism I want to highlight.
I had a friend growing up who would never let anyone look inside her sketchbook, not only because she was intensely private, but because she was an extreme perfectionist, which exemplifies why I also keep a Works In Progress section on BirkeloArt's blog. It's important as established artists and aspiring artists, young and old alike, to know that creative growth is a lifetime process and to practice being kind to ourselves. Art school does not teach a course titled, how to avoid the trap of perfectionism in the name of constructive criticism. Society teaches us the opposite, as well. We have to learn elsewhere that it's okay to express ourselves artistically in whatever way feels true and that "mistakes" and "less than" are part of that expression. It's important and gratifying to hone our craft and expand our skillset, to be recognized for excellence, but I posit that it shouldn't be at the expense of remaining in the moment of creative flow and following that impulse wherever it leads. I would also suggest that we actively practice sharing that imperfect process with the world at large to shake loose and question our habitual behavior patterns and assumptions around creative expression.
Creativity is cultivated with time and space for growth.