I’ve caught second album syndrome and spent the week avoiding my keyboard. I had this whole arc planned out, and today was supposed to be the crescendo - the post where my voice was the loudest. But last week ended up a lot noisier than I expected, and now I’m filled with stage fright.

The only chance I have at pulling this off is if I lower my voice to its softest and whisper Tom’s best-kept secret, the one that he hides in plain sight. He doesn’t talk about it in interviews, so you’ll need to lean in. Closer.

Alright, the hidden theme woven through Tom’s entire career is that it’s OK for your work to look like you. All those “flaws” are Tom’s way of permitting you to be creative. He’s empowering you to find your voice.

Tom’s work is in the permanent collections of the world’s largest and most prestigious art museums. Very powerful tastemakers have decided that flaws are beautiful. Let that marinate a little.

Flaws are beautiful - your flaws are beautiful. That means you can stop running from yourself and start painting it all over your work. And if you head down that path? Really lean into it and start showing all your foibles? Then you’ll begin to find your voice. Sure it’ll start as a whisper, but over the months and years, it’ll grow louder and louder, till one day you’ll wake terrified - ‘how on Earth do I follow on from that?’

A photo of a large plywood boombox sculpture that is an element of Tom Sachs' Space Program.

Originally written for the Sachsian Syndicate.

Previously: TGIM 50 - Then, like clockwork, right around the middle of a project, I’ll hit a wall of self-doubt. Maybe I’ll question the project itself - perhaps the whole thing feels absurd or self-indulgent - Is this really how I want to spend my time?


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