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Scott Keim

What comes to my mind when I think of success? Is it failing many times before finding something that works? Is it making a commercially ‘successful’ career in the arts and establishing a secure future for myself?

It’s a concept that, for me, swings somewhere between the two - sometimes it comes from finally completing a difficult venture; other times, it occurs when I make progress towards achieving the ‘bigger picture’. For this project, I failed numerous times trying to select the works to be used, only to find that most scanning centres would not scan the dimensions in time and with the quality needed. This forced me to revisit some of my older, smaller works, only to find they explored my ideas surrounding the theme more accurately.

The works selected represent the idea of success and how it’s a difficult to define, particularly as someone in their mid-twenties. On one hand, the works depicting the younger self’s views of achievement, the kind that makes our parents and teachers proud. As someone who is drawn to childlike figures and amateur-esque styles of painting, showing images of academic achievements and sporting goals present a nearly comedic response of how simple it was to measure yourself up against a subjective concept when growing up.

On the other hand, as we grow up, the concept of success becomes harder and more individual to define as we discover what is important to us. At this age, I’ve discovered that most of my friends and I feel unsuccessful or ‘failures’ at times, as we shed the notion of working purely to make our parents or superiors view us as successful (often to their chagrin) and discover what we want to achieve. The dissatisfied, almost melancholy faces in some of the figures shows this struggle, the insecurity of discovering what we want to do, and worrying about how it will work and what others will think of it. This mirrors my own feelings of exploring styles as an artist. Recently I’ve been primarily working with ink, developing different techniques and seeing how it can marry with different styles of work I’ve done. It’s still a work in progress, and it won’t be for everyone, but something magic in it fuels my creativity and keeps me inspired. At the moment, that is what success means to me.

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