Musing Mondays: Comfort zones

About "Musing Mondays" 
*Musing Mondays is a series of blogs I release every week with my own thoughts regarding the my work as artist & the process behind it. I wanted to do this as online diary, both showcasing what happens when you're a full-time artist and being more transparent at the same time*

Comfort Zones (and going outside them)

 After this session I decided to focus on studio mostly - probably because I was tired of the Belgium weather and the hazards it brought sometimes. Kika blazed through it though despite it all and we made it work; but I vividly remember the cold and rain.

After this session I decided to focus on studio mostly - probably because I was tired of the Belgium weather and the hazards it brought sometimes. Kika blazed through it though despite it all and we made it work; but I vividly remember the cold and rain.

I vividly remember that back in the winter of 2015, I simply stated "I wasn't inspired by location anymore and therefore; I would quit it until an until further to determine date" - I set up my small home set-up and started my career as what now is know as "Studio Sheridan's Art" . Looking back; I'm sure this has been a determining factor to stand out as artist that allowed me to make a name for myself and to fulfill my dream to become a professional at one point.

Back then - and ironically - I hated studio to the bone . I just didn't understand it, it was boring & I didn't had no clue how to do it because everything was so complicated and I had barely the equipment. But I had it 'in my head' and I thought: just do it. Whatever. Comfort zones are there to break and so; I picked up studio (in my bedroom. Sitting on my bed. Because I had just one tiny room as I started working my old job. Good memories ...). I get these moments sometimes I become obsessed with something in a short amount of time and I guess doing studio was that thing. I did some location work after but it quickly dissapeared and I became a full-time artificial light & studio photographer (and really enjoying it too!) - I've been doing studio now until the spring of 2018 (with the location shoots in those years maybe countable on one hand alone already).

But just like I back then decided very abruptely I didn't want to do location anymore ... I'm now feeling I've settled in this comfort zone that leaves me uninspired, unchallenged and simply .. unsatisfied as artist as well. I also feel a lot of people started shooting and doing the same things and I might have some personal ego playing up; pushing me to do something completely else. I think the second comes from the first as from the moment I'm unsatisfied with my work, I become increasingly jealous of what others do and I feel everyone is invading my personal space because they're so much better. It's something I don't want to feel; but happens a bit too much lately.

 This is one of my first very successful studio sessions: which also greatly defined my current style & approach of my studio signature style.

This is one of my first very successful studio sessions: which also greatly defined my current style & approach of my studio signature style.

Now we're the spring of 2018: I'm still in my 'break' (which you can read more about here) and I cannot express my happiness enough for making this decision. It allowed me to take fifteen steps back, finish projects & assignments, sort & organise ... But also to help me evaluate my inner demons and struggles I fight on a daily base. Any artist will feel me on this & being a professional doesn't help as I always try to improve who I am, what my business is & how to stand out. Without losing what I want these days. Which is a lot yet has suddenly become very "simple" for me to understand:

I decided to take a break from my beloved series "Arcadia" and turn that inspiration in another direction yet true to it's origins: shoot it on location. Create a world, a real world, filled with knights & shieldmaidens, fallen kings and rising queens.

Don't play too much with photoshop or colored gels. Use the natural light, use smoke bombs, use real fire, use the elements of wind & water and create something that feels equally as much as a story straight out of a movie without the use of any additions in photoshop like fire (sparks) or smoke and the awesome tricks of artificial light and color. While both ways are equally creative and true in their way; for me relying on everything around me instead of bending it to my will is something highly out of my comfort zone as there is little room to make mistakes as I'm a horrible photoshop manipulator as I've always strived to do "as much as possible in camera" .

I'm curious to see how this project will develop: for the past few days I've been secretly pinning a ton of images to start understanding and shaping my vision I see in my head & to shape my inspiration into something more visual. Slowly the first projects have been kicked off as well with a few models casting and behind the scenes I'm trying to figure out how I will bring these ideas to life.

I want this to become the most epic thing I've ever done. Because that's the only way to ever come outside your comfort zone: do the things you fear. And I fear not being able to create anymore.