As an organized person, am I a failure as an artist?

Yesterday I spent a lot of time doing what I do after moving into a new space, organizing. I tried to repair some of the lousiest attempts at building shelving I’ve ever seen, screwed some cabinets I bought at a garage sale for next to nothing to the wall and I intend to continue performing some of these organizational tasks today. I never go so far as to recreate a California Closet in every corner of the house, but I am predisposed to appreciate a certain level of organization. Actually, I’d go so far as to say that I need this certain undefined level of organization.

However, a question crept into my head as I worked yesterday: Am I a failure as an artist because I spend too much time and energy organizing? I ask this in jest (with a tinge of seriousness on the side). Am I not a serious artist because I spend so much time setting up a space as opposed to actually making work? Would a “real” artist have moved all of their artistic tools first and just left everything else at the old place to collect dust so they could work on their sculpture?

Nah, I don’t really think so (only a little bit do I think so). I have to believe that crafting a space in an organized fashion will result in a more productive studio.



About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

3 Responses to As an organized person, am I a failure as an artist?

  1. Julie says:

    I hope not. I need things to be in their place, too. I don’t work well in an overly-cluttered environment.

  2. Roy says:

    I don’t think it makes you any less of an artist by being organized. It seems to me that the best workmen, in any field, know exactly where their tools are located. I would rather take my vehicle to a mechanic that has an organized tool box and knows what each tool if for and exactly where it is located when I am paying $80 an hour so that they are not being paid because they cannot find their 10mm wrench.

  3. Pingback: Conceptive creativity vs designing spaces « The Aesthetic Elevator

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