James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

that may or may not exist

38: The Pressure

The Pressure


“What are you doing?”

“What’s on your mind?”

“What’s happening?”

These are placeholder texts that sit in the main fields of our favorite social networks, begging for us to fill that virtual space with our thoughts, witty comments, and musings on the latest news headline. When the mind settles and you are consciously thinking on what to fill that space with, you begin to self validate if “what is happening” is actually worth sharing?

Yesterday, I spent all day with a friend of mine, Daniel Zarick and whenever I seem to chat with him, the brain always flows with insight. Aside from the usual chatter, a different conversation began to bubble forth on the pressure to always be making–especially with these empty fields in a variety of places asking us: “What are you doing?”, “What’s on your mind?”, “What’s happening?”

There’s something to be said about this right? We (typically) want to put our most desirable person forward for those that follow along for our thoughts, with the unspoken agreement to consistently showing what you are working on or thinking about. Is the only way to prove to the universe that you actually make things is to show it to the world while those that are wrapped in Non-Disclosure Agreements are left in the Rise and Grind™ dust? How about those that silently make things but don’t like to take the spotlight? In a smaller sense, how about those that don’t like to show their work in-progress because that’s simply how they work? If you didn’t share it on Twitter, Dribbble, Tumblr, whatever, did you really work on this project?

It’s inspiring to be surrounded by people that do interesting things on the daily—I immediately think of Vaughn Fender’s daily practice where I’m (almost) guaranteed to see something new cranked out on the daily. Having these networks to tap into anytime you need an inspiration boost is both tempting and reassuring but also tap into that impostor syndrome when the pressure grows on yourself, that terrorizing voice that says if you haven’t made something today and shared it to the world (or even one person for a smaller studio practice) you shouldn’t dare call yourself a creative.

With my own practice, I’ve noticed that I move in seasons. Spring and Summer become my seasons for showing, with Fall and Winter being my hibernation periods of quietly making. As Fall is nearing closer (much to my delight) this has been something that’s grabbing at my curiosity lately, so I wonder how it’s been for yours? What are your thoughts on “sharing what you make/dealing with the downtimes when you aren’t making something”? I’d love to hear about it, just hit reply.

Have a great Tuesday and see you next week,



What did I find interesting this week?

1) Would You Ignore 101 Chalk Outlines of a Black Male Body?: A very compelling performance art piece where artists Whitney Hunter and Preach R. Sun where Whitney proceeded to draw 100 chalk outlines of black bodies on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

2) The Facebook Experience Without a Like Button: An op-ed piece on The Atlantic about experiencing Facebook without the “Like” functionality thanks to a browser extension.

3) Why Marketers Want to Make You Cry: A Harvard Business Review piece on why emotions are a powerful marker for marketers to sell items.

4) Women and Minorities as Targets of Attack OnlineKristy Tillman wrote a fantastic piece on the New York Times about what women and minorities have to deal with in regards to online harassment.

5) If you have no surprises in your life, you’re doing it wrongVerge’s Hack Week has been my favorite series’ on their site and this one talks about how convenience culture takes the fun out of finding new things on your own.

James T. Green