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The Art/Life Balance is a Serious Buisness

May 20, 2013

Flying without wingsMaking art is a lot of fun and deeply rewarding but it comes at a price on a personal level. You only  get out of it what you put in and it can be hard to go that extra mile as you push yourself to your limits and beyond because you are fighting against societies norms and it can be uncomfortable for people around you too. So it becomes a personal battle that opens you up and exposes who you really are which can be an unsettling process. When I produce work it always feels totally sincere, I’m absorbed and committed to the moment even though I know it’s an evolutionary process and that a week later I will probably look back at it as a stepping stone or marker along my journey. But it’s an absolute conviction and belief that drives me no matter how my work is received in the outside world and that is the gamble or risk that I have to take if I’m going to succeed as an artist. I have at times shied away from the challenges only to find myself feeling bitter disappointment which is why I’m currently driving myself forward and exploring all the creative possibilities available to me. Deep down I know that as an artist I have already produced some quite interesting work yet I still feel an overwhelming level of frustration and inadequacy that I can only overcome through producing more significant art. At a young age I chose to work alone and let my art be my guide and do my talking and that on the whole has served me well untill recently when I realised my developmental curve was wilting, it was just the wake up call that I needed to lift myself into a whole new era and validate my life’s struggle with some significant work. So that’s where I am now, it’s still all to look forward to though now there’s a greater feeling of urgency even though I may appear to be just as laid back as usual.

A Cross

I find it difficult to achieve an art/life balance because on one hand you need to participate in contemporary culture in order to understand the times, yet you need the critical distance to produce work from an objective view point. For a couple of years I have deliberately withdrawn from my passive immersion in popular culture by switching off the tv and radio, not buying newspapers and no longer following any sports or film etc and in doing so have felt a much greater feeling of freedom. In fact the whole experience has been part of a life changing process of exploring life and art on a deeper and more sentient level and I’m astonished at how different life is when you remove the escapist pacification of the mass media. Even though I always felt I had an open and objective outlook on life I’ve been amazed at my level of indoctrination and how we all conform even out on the margins of society, through the sheer economic pressure  to survive.

Capoeira Horse

What brought this to mind was a visit to the cinema, I took my son to see Star Trek and felt traumatized by the experience, I felt deeply sad that all this noise, violence and escapist nonsense is forced upon us through the oppressive commercial forces of capitalism. At the moment I have a full life and no need for any escapism so this film, trailers and adverts felt like a brutal imposition in my life, the reality of it all felt meaningless on a literal level yet it’s all part of a deliberate and considered construct. So why should I worry about it, I mean I don’t have to go to the cinema, well there are a few crucial reasons the first being I have children of my own and worry about the pressures on them and also as an artist I can’t help but feel that art has been swept up in this whole tidal wave of neatly packaged merchandise. Since the days of Warhol mainstream art has celebrated popular culture, turning actors, singers and the notorious into great icons of our time and in doing so has fallen into that commercial world where everything is diluted and marketed for the masses. You only have to look at the work of Damien Hirst and really listen to what he has to say to realise his motivation and ambition are not based on a deep and open philosophical expression but neatly tailored concepts. So is our objectivity being compromised by the pressures of a tightly controlled establishment and our cultural experience homogenized into overly simplified concepts with a mass market appeal?

One Leg Flip

In my own life I now feel drawn to embrace a sub culture where the values that I identify with are celebrated, though this has an elitist and somewhat bourgeoise feel which would erode part of my identity and the Bridging of cultural extremes. And it flies in the face of my background and life which has evolved through a duality of intellect and humanity, where I always felt able to communicate  intellectual complexities in an ordinary down to earth manner, both verbally and through my art. In the past I always felt comfortable in this role but recently I have grown increasingly unsettled, caught in no mans land between opposing values without a good balance. And it was the more intellectual side that I had neglected as I fell under the spell of popular culture and the mass media, a simple example is that I would spend many evenings watching tv as an inert being (being entertained) whereas now I spend my evenings thinking, writing, reading, drawing or sculpting and to me that’s the difference between living and existing.

Checkin out the move

I only have a bit part to play in the whole art world, I’m not driven by blind ambition but I do feel a need for something  meaningful on an intellectual and philosophical level. It’s a balance that I’m finding increasingly difficult through the restrictive practices of the art world and the economic pressures of my life but I will persevere and write down my reflections in the process and continue to post my work through the social media.

blast1

3 Comments
  1. Nancy Newberg permalink

    Hello Eoghan,
    I like all these pictures, am wondering have you seen or herd of the Digital Sketch pen? I seen it on my timeline, check it out at http://www.welldonestuff.com I found it helpful and quite unique 🙂
    also some time back I perched a book well over a hundred years old called ALL ABOUT THE HORSE BY;SIDNEY Your art work horses resembled the old horse pictures in the book, I found it quite interesting as they are about the English horses and the history 🙂 well knowing you has enlighten my art knowledge and I have to thank you for the inspirations… Always Nancy

    Like

    • Hi Nancy,
      I do enjoy writing my thoughts and posting them with drawings, though I felt a little awkward with this one. I ended up exploring an area that you’ve brought to my attention “the bridge” and how a few years ago I was labelled with “human bridge”. All these interactions count and help shape your life as they add to lifes conversation. Having written this little piece it helped renew my belief that the whole bridge idea is a legitimate and worthy place. 😉 Eoghan

      Like

      • Nancy Newberg permalink

        Good Morning Eoghan,
        My thoughts about your writings and art work Bridged together is quite fitting of who you are, talented and unique with a flare of personal birth right style with your last name combined together establishes a firm memory in the views mind and heart of who you are. 🙂 NN

        Like

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