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Just what I feel

April 24, 2014

This is an essay on how living as an artist has impacted on my life, why I feel so restrained and why I struggle to find a good reason to continue my life as an artist,  beyond my own human development. In writing my reflections I’m hoping to find some reasons or meaning that can motivate me into making sculpture again, I still live in hope but cannot hide from a growing dissatisfaction, even though I’m happy with the essence of my personal work. I believe whole heartedly in my ideas and enjoy the invention in my art but cannot reconcile it with the market place, just yet.


I’ve spent my entire life immersed in the art world, it is all I know and yet I still wrestle with many issues that feel quite fundamental. I feel these issues  arise from the difficulty of translating art into a purposeful statement for general consumption but also from the sense of self which is under scrutiny from the judgements and reactions to ones work. I take my work seriously and in doing so my analysis of life, society and art can be quite brutal as it is done with a cold objectivity in a search beneath the surface for substance. I’m not a consumer looking for tasteful objects to fill my life, I’m an artist looking for answers and meanings, I want truth and honesty and I aspire to make works of art that are significant. Through this search you reach many uncomfortable conclusions which can be provocative and intimidating and you face a backlash for this, often soliciting negative responses from those whose compromise has led to dissatisfaction. I believe many people set out in life with a dream, you see it in teenagers full of enthusiasm, ready to go out there and change the world, but too few are able to realise that in a world that seems to prevent people from living the life of their choice, a world that brutally treads on our dreams and condemns us to the work place.  In one sense art is not about making friends, it’s about a deconstruction of perceptions, reconstructed into an artistic statement, as an artist it takes you to the edge before bringing you back through the commitment to your creativity, in which the objects you make come to symbolise who and what you are. Over time the questions deepen and In my own life I need answers and a greater understanding so that I have a reason to make art, I don’t want to make nice things for nice galleries for people to say how nice it is, I want to make art that is profound and resonates on a deeper level with the psyche, I want people to feel that there is a reason for the art and to get something from it beyond decoration.


All I have is one life, a life that has already been fucked around with too much and all I want to do is have the room to make some interesting art, but even that is a lot to ask from this tangled web. So I write and try to make sense of it all, sometimes rueing my choice to live an ordinary life in suburbia which has brought an immeasurable amount of pressure on me, because the creative process can at times be extraordinary. In the search for inspiration you become engrossed in a state of being that can be hard for many people to understand. From the outside ones preoccupation may look to others like you’re not all there and it is often misconstrued and in my own case I’ve felt much maligned at times for being like this. As an artist you are vulnerable when you are at your greatest height of creativity, because you are lost in this place and unguarded, working in an open way and laid bare so that your work encompasses all that you have to offer. It was this vulnerability in myself that led to a breakdown in my own art and allowed the pressure and derision to overwhelm my self belief, a position in which I’m still struggling to recover from. Whilst as an artist I function in a satisfactory way and in some ways am flourishing, I still carry the scars that distract my purpose and desire to extend my art into the wider world. Being defensive isn’t the answer and can have a heavy impact on ones work, because it affects your state of mind and clouds your vision, which is why I feel this need to be withdrawn. Many artists work in a protected environment and the more successful ones acquire an entourage to support their vulnerability, I on the other hand chose to do it in the regular world and this has made my life an epic struggle and you know what I don’t know if it was the right choice. But back to this place, the inner reality of the artist where you venture, a place where ideas flow and the magic happens as your commitment is rewarded with ideas of a visceral nature, a place in which your trust feels reciprocated. As an artist I cannot explain the specifics of creativity, beyond an impulse that feels like a duty to explore ideas no matter what the cost and I can only hint at the mysterious magical aspects that contradict the rational mind and start the process. A process in which you take an idea from an inspiration and work it through on many levels, applying an extensive range of judgements which tests all you have on offer, from the intellect to pure sensuality. But unfortunately this is just one side of the story because applying your creativity to an expression fit for societies requirements is a problem and where there is a lack of interest in your ideas you face a huge problem.


I’m pretty pissed off with my art and reality and can no longer bear the struggle of making work that just piles up because I feel there is a disparity between what I produce and the reaction it receives. I make work that I believe in and yet it carries no sway in the reality of an art world that has nothing to offer an artist that attempts to explore a purity of human expression. For thirty years there has been a duality to my approach which is now merging into one as my personal vision finally takes shape and the truth is it neither fits into the commercial galleries or the more public galleries because it is somewhat detached from mainstream agendas. I can’t help my detachment either, because it is the way that I have always lived and the only way that I can feel free, but I do feel let down by an art world that does not serve art or artists in a satisfactory way and I say this after thirty years of being subjected to existing through this portal.




The importance of crossing lines has come into focus for me recently after my attention was drawn to the French poet Rimbaud after a conversation , I looked online for a biography and was fascinated by a couple of his letters in which he tried to explain his attempts to become a seer in order to become a true poet. I can only make assumptions but it appears to me that it was almost an instinct that drove him to an absolute extreme. His behaviour changed and he cut loose for about five years in which time he really hit some great heights with his work and some great depths with his life. A true enfant terrible, his poetry was later to have a great deal of influence on others and still does today. Although I only briefly looked at a few biographical notes I was fascinated to see how he made his connection to what he felt was quite a visionary state, because as an artist I too look for a more significant connection but without such extremes of behaviour. I understand how at times it is important to alienate oneself from the world so that you can feel a sense of freedom to go where ever you like with your work, unbothered by the judgement of others and locked into your own pure realm of creativity. In my own search I have chosen a path of greater isolation and cut myself off from the bombardment of the media and opted for a more frugal existence, a life without treats and pretty basic so that I’m not distracted in my search. It feels quite illogical as I search for a more visceral means of expression, which can conflict with the seemingly more rational, intellect based approach. It’s an area of instinct and intuition and I feel it must differ from person to person, though perhaps taking things to an extreme may have a more common thread.


I have found that in order for me to produce more innovative work that I have to go to extremes, because my work is derived through great contemplation and thought and not just grabbed from the ether in a moment of inspiration. Now as I’ve grown older it’s become more difficult to innovate due to the pressures that constantly weigh me down, though I’ve done a pretty good job over the last few years of blazing my own little trail. I’ve had some fun too, but it’s been a pretty serious business and I smile to myself because some of the reactions to my posts have touched on the anguish I express which is often seen as me having a tormented soul. But that torment is what lies at the root of my art, I never feel satisfaction and I struggle and fight with myself to do better and make more interesting art. Life is short and if I want to achieve any satisfaction with my life it can only be done by producing some worthy art, something that I feel I’m capable of , I’ve already touched on some interesting ideas and like a heroin addict I always feel like I need just one more hit, even though my disillusion is growing stronger through time




The phase of life that I’m currently in, is quite objective in an analytical way, because I don’t want my efforts to be clouded through an acceptance of mediocrity, so nice and lovely and all that shit is out the window. I’m looking for a creative purity that is not diluted through compromise and that is not searching for any praise or admiration.  I’m looking for substance and meaning from art, so questions like does it work, what does it say, is there any point in it existing are always at the fore of my mind. As well I’m just about keeping an eye on the aesthetic in terms of the artist’s responsibility to make convincing visual expressions. However this creative phase does not sit happily with the commercial aspect of art that does somewhat trivialize the whole process as you slave away to put your commodified work into the market place. Here in the market place the context of the art changes as people judge the work on a whole new criteria, looking to invest, adding to a collection, accessorizing a house or office or buying it because they feel passionate about it. So it is here in the market place where you are exposed to a judgement and where your work stand or fails the test and it is a place where I have never felt comfortable with. And that is because by the time it’s exhibited I’ve worked through my ideas resolved them and have already moved on.


Sometimes I struggle with my absolute discontent and inability to express myself in a suitable way and I go to different lengths to try to free myself  from what feels like shackles that restrain my creativity. I know that I can’t get to the next stage through gentle compliance and that modern life gives me little room for manoeuver with all the expectations and prescriptive living. Right now I’m in the middle of the most important chapter of my life, absorbed in a process that is uncomfortable because it’s not easy creating art from what feels like a more intuitive place. The pressure is on for me to resolve a situation that is holding me back from pursuing my commercial duties to earn a living, but the problem is that I don’t know what it will take for me to feel able to dedicate my time to producing editions at the expense of halting my progress. For now I will continue to work and follow my dream untill I reach the level that will allow me to step away, but I will not live a life of going through the motions and fooling myself to believe in a compromised solution of convenience.


  1. Anonymous permalink

    Hi, lots of F… words…. may be you could turn this into something positive? have fun. Marie


  2. Thanks for the comment Marie, I will try to have fun, though my work and efforts seem to be locked into a yoyo effect at the moment and the F word is symbolic of my frustrations, Kind wishes Eoghan 🙂


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