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Moving On

April 18, 2014

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After a couple of  years  working almost every day at my art in an attempt to restore my creative equilibrium, I feel that I may have got there. I feel quite drained creatively speaking, but I have confidence in who I am and what I do, having earned that right . But feeling ok about who and where you are is not exactly nirvana, but what it is, is a state that allows one to embrace the challenges of creativity. For some people my blogs may appear slightly tortured at times which is a reflection of my life, but if I’m going to achieve art that I feel is worthy it won’t just happen, because I have to work for it. Through my writing and art I have slowly dealt with both major and minor difficulties that held me back, difficulties that could not be shrugged aside and while it may sound repetitive I was determined to deal with all that bothered me no matter how many times it manifested itself into my consciousness. So now I feel awakened and when I recall my state of mind from two years ago, I’m aware of a massive change, a change from a perception of being shrouded and burdened to the point of being an artistic mute, without a voice. This journey forced me to drop out a little in order to find my way and lift the burdens from me and in doing so and learning to follow my own intuition I found my way. But this struggle has been the greatest experience of my life because I have just learned so much, because through the analysis of my lifes experiences, both good and bad, I was able to get a much deeper grip and understanding of human psychology and society. But most importantly for my art, these observations opened up an avenue into a depth of  understanding that far exceeded my expectations and I also found surprises in my search for truth.

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But it was the fact I’d allowed  life to break my spirit that was the causation of this journey that would otherwise have been unnecessary, because without that crisis I would still have been in the same game playing by the same rules. I can remember from a few years ago, that unbearable feeling of being disassociated with my own life and all I had to follow was the remnants of the dream I had all those years ago and my belief in art. I had no idea about how long it would take to feel ok about my life again and I followed many false leads, because I felt I had to prove myself in a wider context, but that wasn’t what I needed at all. I’ve always been strong enough to be an individual, so now more than ever I needed only to feel at one with myself and proud of my artistic achievements and I mean that in a genuine way. So I needed to make  honest art for the right reasons and from the right place, not art as commodity to show off in a superficial way, but art that was soul deep, art that was from me and of me, my unique marks and expressions of being, but as I found that takes great courage. And in being honest with myself, it stripped me bare and exposed the ego and the groomed intellect that often shields and justifies art that really has no relevance to a true  creativity. I became aware of the battle between intellect and the human spirit and how creativity is shaped, bullied and groomed into our consciousness so that it fits conveniently into societies perceived requirements. Now more than ever art has become a commodity and the financial leverage carries great influence, which I feel subverts creativity into specific directions, directions that are taught in our institutions and instilled in our collective consciousness, and in the life of a working artist there are expectations, I have been making a living from my art for nearly thirty years so I have a little empirical knowledge to go on. But everything I write and say is an opinion based on my perception, which after all is all that my art is too. (This writing isn’t that easy for me, but I will keep trying for a little while yet)

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This period has enlightened me a great deal, firstly it taught me that my feelings of being honest with myself were misguided to say the least, that I placed too much emphasis on the intellectual approach to art and that what you feel in your heart is of equal importance, it’s also taught me that life is a work in progress and that you have to put a lot of energy into art for the rewards. By rewards I mean the satisfaction of knowing and achieving beyond your imagination, the deep satisfaction you get from doing more than your best by creating something new. With the spiritual side of creativity and what you feel in your heart, I will admit to having issues, because I felt that this area could be addressed through a rational approach, not realising that the rational or logical expectations kerbed the intuitive gestures, instead of allowing the free flow of creativity without question. I also alluded to self-deception, something I became aware of when I really looked at the motivating factors behind my art. Here it was about a brutal honesty in what I hoped the reaction to my work should be as opposed to having the courage to make whatever I liked and not worrying about the reaction and behind these options I feel there is a dichotomy. So in making truthful art as a sincere expression it may be that you produce an ugly piece of work that nobody really likes, which is in itself is still a legitimate art work. Now the reason I bang on about this is because art is or should (in my opinion) be a bastion for truth and integrity, after all it is a fundamental human expression and to see art subverted into a superficial and egotistical  expression for the pseudo elite of society is too great a sacrifice. Art as trophies and gestures of affluence is in my opinion, a dilution of creativity and I for one do not wish to be a part of a superficial trend that rewards style over substance.

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This period has also shattered my illusions about the history of art, the academic institutions, the railroading of artists into the various isms, not to mention the financing of art and museums and also the role of collectors and the marketing of art through the auction houses. Through my contemplations I drew conclusions about how art is used in the elite sectors of society and how artist were lured into this trap for financial gain. From this I have learned about a way forward, a direction that is not about making work for collections or institutions, a way of making art that is just a creative expression that feels right for me. not some clouded vision that partly lived in hope of superficial recognition. So it brought me into the present, right here and now, this is who I am, defined by what I do and make on a daily basis, living my life the only way I know how.

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I’ve seen the world in a new light and I’ve learned many lessons, so I can move on and I look forward to this, I still have some issues and a lot to learn, but at least my expectations are realistic and my ambitions lie firmly in the quality of my art. I still see art as the most sacred form of human expression and feel privileged to be an artist, but now I carry forward a greater level of self belief and how I make that count through my art is my challenge. I’ve drawn out hundreds of different ideas that I feel are quite interesting and now I have to make decisions about which ones to pursue and that’s not going to be easy. But I feel assured that the reason behind the developments will be for the correct reasons and based on stand alone artistic reasons.

Soon my writing will change as I start to explore my art once again with less distraction and I’ve really no idea where that will take me, I find that both exciting and scary rolled into one.

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4 Comments
  1. Janet R. permalink

    As usual, I find that reading your insights, and keeping in touch with your vision and your search for personal truth, has kept me focused on doing the same in my own life, as difficult as it often is to keep going in a world that pushes us to conform.

    Like

  2. I find the fact that you cycle round ideas and come back to themes very honest and helpful. There are pressures to see linear progress (all that stuff about aims etc. bladiblah) but in my experience everything goes round and round, slowly perhaps getting a bit wider or deeper with each iteration. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Like

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