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Sunday, August 27, 2023

Perfection in Art

Perfection can be a tricky and elusive thing. And it may even drive you to madness.

By now, most of us know that perfection is subjective. Or, put differently, nothing can ever be completely perfect in every single sense that it may be measured by. Because even if you try to cover all the bases, in order to make it perfect, that, too, could be an imperfection in the eyes of some. Therefore, objectively, perfection would simply be the meeting of certain standards and expectations - regardless of what they are. Yet, there is no denying that there are a few qualities that are more typically associated with what could be considered perfect in a normal or regular manner.

The absence of dirt, decay, and disharmony usually points to a state of perfection. However, if you're artistic enough, you would perceive that as lifeless (or even soulless) and, consequently, imperfect or subjected to an oppressive and restrictive type of perfectionism. But since not everything has to be wildly artistic and some things can just be sophisticated and intricate or elegant designs, it is not something to always be against of.

Still, by focusing on perfection as an absence of flaws (or "flaws"), we could fall into many traps. One of the worst is being at the mercy of others' opinions - even when they are uninformed or malicious in nature. We begin getting rid of anything that could be criticized and turn ourselves or our work into an example of a lack of spirit. Then be criticized for that, too. So, ultimately, it is a matter of choice. Of choosing which route you're taking and whether others' opinions will be relevant or not and to what extent.

On the other hand, being a perfectionist, if not to a crippling or even paralyzing degree, does have its benefits and shouldn't be fully discouraged. But you ought to be clear about what the purpose is in a given scenario so that you can accomplish it without getting lost tending to innumerable details that would deter you from it.

You can nitpick what you are and what you do, but in a kind and reasonable way that won't send you into a downward spiral or make you afraid to make moves. Thus, realistically pushing yourself to make improvements where they can be made. You can also leave things at a point you're not completely satisfied with and come back to them later when you're able to further improve upon them. And of course, you can as well "beat" yourself by coming up with something brand new of higher quality.

Dropping perfection altogether is a mistake. As it is a mistake to let it be more limiting than motivating to go beyond casual or habitual efforts.

(And please, for your own good, if you're compelled to, allow yourself to be messy from time to time.)