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Digging deep to find belief

April 19, 2014

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Four years ago I stopped drinking alcohol, I stopped watching tv, the news, sport, I stopped reading newspaper and switched my radio off  so that I could discover exactly why life had knocked the stuffing out of me. I’d become a little defensive and angry and my self belief was starting to dwindle, I’d lost my passion for life and was merely going through the motions, on the verge of  insignificance. I was so lost that I had finally resorted to existing on  instinct, I functioned in the same way in the eyes of others, smiling and joking but the art inside me was dying after years of pressure that alienated me from my creativity. When your outlook becomes so bleak it is hard to function and live with a feeling of joy, my art had become my enemy as it started to dampen my spirit with the relentless production. It had been a gradual demise triggered by the grief of  losing my sisters and mother unexpectedly, of course I thought I was coping but my life had imploded and I was washed up. But there is something in the human spirit that can awaken you, when you are shrouded in darkness and enveloped with nihilistic thoughts about life. It is a strange feeling when you start to trust in the chance and circumstance, but in doing so I found a path that felt right and slowly I started to turn around my fortunes.

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It felt like I gambled everything and took the risk to make a comeback and fight my way back to a life where I could believe in myself once again, in this period I have ignored hundreds of emails and opportunities in order to protect myself from too many pressures. The process has been delicate because I had become so full of doubt that I could so easily have been put off and lost my way again. This part of my life has been fascinating and one of my most valuable lessons, because it’s brought a level of wisdom in so many different areas that I feel I would never have realised in a more “normal ” existence. my politics have changed, the core of my creativity has moved into what feels like a more genuine area and my approach to art has changed significantly. My life hasn’t been easy but the adversity has made me dig deep and I feel that it has gifted me an original and innovative approach to art. But more than anything it has given me a toughness, because I have fought to produce my work and ideas, often against the odds and popular belief. I will not be told how and why when it comes to art because my beliefs are in my own ability to interpret and access my creativity, this is not arrogance either because I don’t mind criticism and I absolutely love challenging and intelligent interactions. I have a few people who comment and enlighten me with their wisdom here in the virtual world, sometimes I’m stopped in my tracks by their timely comments. I can be a bit brittle  and over defensive still because I’m a work in progress, a wounded artist in recovery and just starting to walk again after years in a wilderness. It’s a mystery but something inside me drives me on and gives me the belief to continue with my sculpture, I always felt I had a purpose with my art but have been surprised by how big a battle it has been to survive pretty much against the odds. However my latest struggles are bringing out the best in me and my vision is taking shape in a more profound and original form than I ever imagined, in work that I believe is of its time and respectful to the past, work that is based on strong concepts with strength in-depth. I believe that by using traditional subject matter with interesting new twists that I can articulate the extraordinary which has become part of contemporary life. It would be poetic if after all this struggle that my efforts were dignified with an acceptance or at least recognised as the works of art that they are, so that I could be afforded the chance to develop them further and maintain an infrastructure that supports my real world needs. But at least I have the belief again to take my work out there and face the doubters.

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Today I woke up for the first time in ten years and realised I was very much back in the game, I don’t know why but I just knew that this epic fight back was over and I could begin to concentrate on my artistic vision. My belief in self was back and for the first day in a few years I felt I had nothingto prove to myself because I’m ok and my arts ok too, I no longer felt the desperation of a man trying to catch up with himself. Instead I reflected on my work and decided I need to make some more large sculptures, I also thought about finding a way of publishing a book of drawings. So with that in mind  I will start to resolve a few equestrian compositions in the belief  that if you build it opportunities will arise. But what ever transpires I feel strong enough to continue on my path with an undeminished belief in myself and abilities as an artist and if I believe in myself that is at least a start, who knows someone else may start to believe in me too.

Blacky and Me 1

The last few years have taken a fairly heavy toll on me physically, partly because I cut right back on my sleep and partly from the strain of trying so hard to trawl my depths in the search of interesting ideas. I think I’ve aged more than at any other stage of my life, but in reaching a more profound level I knew it would be tough, I’ve even started to run everyday to sharpen my wits and focus. Anyway as of today I feel that I can afford a little more mellowness in my approach to life, though I don’t think I will return to my previously horizontal state of laid backness.

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