Un-multi-tasking

Sol LeWitt's letter to Eva Hesse



Warning: If you do not like strong language this post may not be for you.  First of all thank you Elizabeth Brandt for posting this wonderful piece on your facebook page. It was exactly what I needed to read and I sent it to a few of the designers in my studio. I love the work of both of these artists, and it was so heartening to hear that these artists are human. I probably talk like Sol. My mouth is a bit " dirty" so I was not offended by the language he uses, but if off color language is not your thing, you may not want to continue. I need this kind of kick in the pants every once in a while when self pity and self doubt take the upper hand. And this rant really hit home for me. I have edited this back just a bit- not changed words but I did not print all of it. If you are interested you can find the full piece here.  I hope you enjoy it. And, be sure to look at LeWitt and Hesse's work. 

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! 
Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. 
Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. 
If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end”You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!
I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. 
Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – 
you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – 
so DO IT. 
And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. 
It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it.
 Can’t you leave the
 “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. 
I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing.
After you do something it is done and that’s that. 
After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. 
You also must believe in your ability. You have at your power the ability to do anything.