The art of Perfecting Imperfection. by river bennett

River Bennett (Photographer River Bennett)


I asked 10 artists, from musos to painters, models to photographers and writers what some of the biggest mind battles are that they face when producing their craft.

"What people will think" and  "what people will say"  were responses high on the list. Along with "procrastination" and "never having enough time." 

When I asked about perfectionism - the drive for their craft to be perfect, their eyes grew wide as they said, "Yes - 100%." 

My grandfather always said to me "Nothing in this world is perfect." It's true, nothing is. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people. No book. No speech. No lyric. No face. No body. No gallery. No business can be perfect. And yet we work and strive to be perfect as though one day we will eventually get there. 

Our view on perfecting our craft has 1000 good intentions. And 1000 bad ones.

I think we need a few bites of perfectionism to digest in order to produce a solid outcome. It's a substance that makes us hungry and helps us search out the creative storeroom or pantry until we feel full and ready to add excellence to our craft.
And yet this same ingredient also hinders us from finishing our piece and potentially sharing it, because our end result is far from perfect. 
If we allow perfectionism, or the striving for our art to be perfect, to rule the way we work at our craft we can be creating out of a place of fear. We can become anxious at the challenge that lays ahead which kills off inspiration and passion and ultimately the reason why we started. 

Venice Beach, California holds "The Drum Circle" every weekend. It is space made by drummers for drummers whose main objective is to share rhythms and create music. The thing I loved about watching it was how it didn't matter how good the drummers were, they could simply join in and collaborate with other musicians. 
And with the crazy clash of cultures and drummers with various abilities somehow a imperfect, yet perfect, beat rose from within and made its way out into the open sky for us to enjoy. In other words, they didn't have to be perfect but what was taking place was perfecting imperfection. 

Unfortunately humanity judges what is "perfect" and it has potential to leave lasting dints in our psyche: "Her face is so perfect!" 
"I can't fault that song!" 
"Did you see that show? Not one mistake!" 
"Wow, what a perfect couple."  
Perfection is simply an illusion, a wrongly perceived idea on the reality of how things actually are.

Maybe we should start seeing perfectionism in our craft differently ... to start perfecting the imperfect. 

Maybe it's perfect when we "create out of obedience to the vision in our hearts, regardless of what anyone else thinks." 
It's perfect when "it has mistakes", "it's perfect when, even though we may not like it completely when we share it, it's ok because we shared it anyway and that is adding to the history of our story."

Our work will be perfect when we settle that it will never be perfect, but we do it anyway. 

So let's make imperfect supreme, let's work towards perfecting imperfection. Let's keep it real. Let's keep making art. 

Ps. I hope all my spelling errors and bad use of grammar bless you :) XO (I took this pic on a recent trip to Venice Beach, California - "The Drum Circle")