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Guiding myself through adversity

July 28, 2014

465Studio sketches from my past

I write what I feel in the moment in the hope that it will reflect a greater level of truth, this helps me to understand the process of expression and how I feel about and react to life. To write exactly what you feel is liberating and it starts a flow of communication that would otherwise be internalized as a consequence of the stifling conventions of societal restriction. Truth and trust are sacrificed in the heavy price we pay for our lifestyles, and it starts at the hierarchical zenith with, politicians, statesmen and business leaders, but art is no haven for truth either and has really become a leading example of polite speak and bullshit.

I often feel that there is a polite mode for conversation and thinking that accepts the constraints of what I feel is a false societal reality, a mode that doesn’t rock the boat and harbours compliance. Then I feel there is a deeper reality that reflects the soulful connection to life in a broader context, much of which cannot be defined through  conveniently simplistic platitudes, a state of being that doesn’t follow set patterns and is open to a dynamic interpretation. I feel that there is a clear dichotomy here that leads to a certain level of  unavoidable duality. As always I can only write from my own limited perspective, but I feel I have got close enough to expressing myself in a fairly open manner here on WordPress and Facebook and am able to communicate more openly without fear and it’s something that I can take from this experience, as I try to move on.

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I believe artists have a level of responsibility that goes way beyond creating beautiful images pertaining to the bourgeoise notions of art I also believe that deliberately obtuse and esoteric art produced for cynical reasons does no service to mankind. The thing is I have strong opinions and it is these that drive me to search for what I believe is significance through my art.  If I just accepted everything in a bland and benign way then my work would reflect that, I have been compliant at times and I have learned much from this but now I choose to search as deeply as I can. When I’m developing ideas for my art I am faced with many dilemmas and I have to make choices about how deep I want to go with my study and what do I want to communicate. I feel there is no right or wrong way and that it comes down to acquired wisdom and judgement, like life itself an unpredictable organic adventure. My direction is changing as I learn to trust in the consequences of actions derived from decisions made in the moment but the lack of certainty troubles me. Which is why I keep writing and writing in the hope that my unconventional approach will gain a level of credence that feels convincing. By undermining accepted wisdom of prevailing cultural attitudes you leave yourself exposed, not only to others but to the insecurities within and you can only live with so much doubt. Though in my solitude I have little doubt about my work and there is a growing level of fortitude and belief, it feels relevant to my life and the world I live in, though the content is not obvious or focused on specifics, I feel it reflects some fundamental truths. I’m often deeply moved by world events, never more so than with the current issues but I shy away from addressing then specifically, instead hoping that I may pay my respects through an acknowledgement of the human cost and that somehow it will be reflected through the feelings my work conveys. I believe that what is in the mind and heart transfers into the work of an artist who truly cares about their creativity and that is part of what one feels when engaging with a piece of art.

In coming to terms with my changing fortunes, I have to accept that the rejection of my work is a fateful consequence of my actions and a rather sad truth for me, the amazing thing is that I haven’t let this crush my spirit or belief and it has led me to a position where I dug deeper to prove its worth and conceptual viability. In one sense I’ve reached a point where I could walk away from art forever because I’ve achieved much of what I wanted. I could polish up my ideas and develop the work on a more aesthetic level but there is simply no point in producing sculpture that merely clutters my life. I’ve become deeply connected through the development of my intellectual and spiritual understanding and I’ve openly shared all my thoughts and work. I have made my gesture, a contribution that I’m proud of, that I was able to stand up behind my work with absolute belief gives me a great sense of pride. But the material struggle is too great and I’ve simply had enough I could go on developing my work indefinitely, but the commitment required is too great for the consequential reality. I really have no choice but to remove myself from the equation once again and retreat to working in my solitude, living my life without unrealistic expectations and the frustrations of  applying the art of creativity to a world which greets difference with indifference.

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Over the last three I have worked very hard and I believe I have done some amazing work but it has driven me into the ground financially to a point where I can no longer continue, last year my income became so low that it’s simply impossible to survive. I knew it would be tough but I had to make the breakthrough on a personal level or face a level of despair beyond my wishes. I feel that I’ve achieved a partial realisation of my potential now and must take steps to find a new way of surviving the material rigours of  a soulless society. It is just the next part of my journey and part of the reality that we all face, however I don’t want to sell out my integrity and be enslaved through relentless production, but my reality is stark and quite sobering.

I’m saddened by the fact that the integrity of  creativity is so heavily compromised in society, but heartened by my three years of liberation and all that I learned. I feel I know the score at last and was able to peek behind the constructs of conventional wisdom and touch on a level of truth that shocked me in an unexpected way. At least I see and understand life on a deeper level than before and I feel comfortable with who I am and my perception of reality, I may have even surprised one or two people along the way. I think that the prevailing attitudes that govern our lives are short-changing us and that the lack of compassion in society is detrimental to humanity on the whole, I can’t sell out my integrity to this commercial free for all because I refuse to live in ways that are contrary to my beliefs. In my opinion the art world does a great disservice to artists, art and society and I really don’t want to be a part of it. By returning to the isolation of my studio I can continue to work and exhibit my art and maybe look for other ways of earning a supplementary income. But by feeling exposed and being exposed to realities that don’t complement my life, I am only tormenting myself when I really need to find a level of harmony and a positive way forward.

I feel a few people have understood my work and approach to life which I have appreciated immeasurably, but in the scheme of things I’m still very marginal and that leaves me in a vulnerable position, I’m also aware that by overexposing my work and repeating myself as I write out my thoughts that eventually they are merely gestures cast into the wind.  My attitude to life is pretty much all or nothing and I have to refocus my energies on a practical level so that I no longer feel the desperate struggle that haunts every moment of my life. Maybe I will find a less distracted path that leads to interesting conceptual developments or maybe not, life is complicated and I can only follow my instinct. I feel there must be something out there for me somewhere so that my energies can be applied to a more meaningful and fulfilling life. The problem I have with focusing my work towards blogging and the social media is that it can be very distracting and I can’t allow myself to be distracted for much longer when so much is at stake because now more than ever I need to be fully focused on finding my way out of my current position, something that I can only do alone as I face up to and confront my sobering reality.

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Today I’ve realised that I must enter a new phase of my life and address some outstanding issues that concern my future, the first of which is to reconnect to my positive energy that has been eroded by my reactive approach to experience, so that I feel cleansed from the darkness of despair, I feel haunted and burdened by forces that have no place in my life and yet they have crept upon me. Changing this around is complicated  and requires a fundamental shift, but I know I can do it through my work and with a little gentle guidance from here and there. Once I’m liberated from this negativity I feel it will lift the barriers and clear my path towards a more fruitful existence where my work will flow with greater freedom and where I maybe  able to offer my art to the world without reservation or concern.

I have this one life and it feels so precious that I don’t want to waste it or allow it to be spoilt by circumstance and the consequences of my reactions, instead I want to take my experience and wisdom and offer something of substance. A positive contribution to the world so that I feel I gave more than I took and that my existence had a purpose and brought something to a few people’s lives. I’m lucky to have this gift, a gift defined by a desire and ability to be creative and the strength of character to follow my intuition, but it’s a great responsibility because it would be unforgivable to waste it for reasons of vanity. So I must fight on and realise my artistic vision and live out my life true to what I feel is my very core, it may have taken over thirty years to get here but I will make all my experience worthwhile through the depth of my work. 🙂  Or at least I’ll try 🙂

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3 Comments
  1. Janet R. permalink

    If you have come to a place where you are able to work in solitude for the sake of creating art, and even if only a few people appreciate it’s unique value, that is almost enough, just as it is. We all see the world not as “it is” but as “we are.” Embracing this has helped me to live without the validation and acceptance of society and even friends, for the most part. I have a very spiritual, almost unearthly connection with horses. They are very intuitive, sensitive beings. Your art portrays their exquisite beauty and ethereal nature better than any artist I know of–and of course that’s just how I see it. 🙂 The last sketch in this entry, of the horse in mid-air “kissing” the woman’s head, moved me deeply. This is one that should truly be made into a sculpture. Janet

    Like

    • Thanks Janet, I agree life it is as we see and feel it and the unrealistic expectations distract us from our purpose. I’m glad I found the time and motivation to seek a more meaningful understanding of life. It has changed me for the better and given a greater feeling of inner peace. To make art for reasons that you truly believe in is a privilege in itself and for my material survival I will have to find the energy that requires. I have made so many drawings now Janet that I never know which ones to turn into sculptures 🙂

      Like

      • Janet R. permalink

        I also still think you need to somehow publish a book of these drawings…they are great works of art and inspiration in and of themselves.

        Like

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