Using Doubt for Good | Kristin Russell
Kristin Russell is the mind and self-taught artist behind Mulchkin, a shop filled with beautifully strange creations of all sorts.
I’ve heard other artists say you have to pick one thing and stick to it, and it makes sense, to specialize and learn one thing and learn it really well; I just could never do that. I find it much more interesting finding the connections between different things— the way different ideas interact, the way different mediums interact… I could never settle on just one thing!
Growing up with a mom who was very creative and both parents who loved books and reading was a huge impact. I’ve always been a curious person, interested in everything; I just loved learning, I’m still this way. Everything is inspiring, and sometimes I have to rein it in so I can get some work done!
The business side of [Mulchkin] was a natural evolution for me. I sort of fell into selling my art when I was young, setting up with my mom at craft fairs and then selling online.
There is always that electric excitement when someone responds to something you’ve made—I guess it’s that same excitement when I first discovered an artist that impacted me, like a long-lost part of myself.
However, being well steeped in the ways of creativity hasn’t shielded Kristin from the struggles that come along with trying to being invested in one’s art.
I’ve always struggled with self-doubt, I’m self-taught, and I make unusual stuff that isn’t very practical. As they say “we are our worst critics” and I question what I’m doing sometimes and still too often. Of course, I view art as a real profession and other artists as doing real work, it’s only when the lens is pointed at myself that I feel unsure. It’s amusing to me that if it was another job. If it was being a garbage collector, for example, I would never worry if the world really needed ONE MORE garbage collector.
Sometimes when I look at other artists work it can be hard not to do the comparison game. It can be hard to say “yes, the world has room for one more artist. And the world has room for my art”.
The thing that always settles it for me is I try to picture myself never making anything again.
Never painting, never drawing.. nothing. For the rest of my life.
And that finishes that very quickly! What a boring place that would be!
That is one good thing about doubt: it is like a double-check system “is this still what you want? is this still the road you want to travel?” and if it is than that can be a powerful affirmation.
Kristin says her biggest piece of advice for other makers is:
Keep going and to not stop themselves before they start by over thinking everything. …remember that perfection isn’t possible. Ever.
You don’t have to get it “right the first time”.. or the second. It’s just important to start. Ignore the feeling that you’re not good enough; you are! And you’re getting better all the time!…making “mistakes” is the only way to figure out what your intention is as an artist, and as a human too–that in order to know what you want to say you first have to feel the wrong words in your mouth.
…you will always be learning, you will always be changing, we’re human it’s what we do.