Restriction is the best thing that’s ever happened to me as an artist. Also one of the most infuriating. To clarify, I must get personal. I apologize in advance.
Growing up on the prairie of Oklahoma, my family never had a lot of money. For the longest time, every thread of clothing I wore was a hand-me-down. (Luckily, my older cousin was very fashionable, so the clothes were quite nice. However, there came a point when she stayed thin and, well, our paths diverged fashion-wise). When I became aware of fashion, I also became aware that my parents couldn’t afford any. This is where my mom and her trusty old Singer sewing machine stepped in. She told me we could pick out a pattern and material and make a pretty good copy of whatever I wanted. I may have started out wanting to simply remake what I saw other people wearing, but it didn’t stay that way. Walking into the fabric store, I realized I had options open to me than were hanging on store shelves. My mother’s optimism and know-how showed me that by not being able to go out and buy whatever I wanted, my imagination could step in and take over.
Constraint is nothing to be feared. It’ll make you a little desperate, it can make you try new things. Perhaps someday I’ll compile a list of other works where I think they were better for the constraint placed upon the artist. This principle seems to often hold true in movies, some truly great movies were done on budgets a fraction the size of major block-busters.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but Constraint is the teacher of art.