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The never ending begining

July 29, 2014

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A life in art is extraordinary and nothing can prepare you for one of lifes roughest and most beautiful rides. I remember starting out at college, wow what a privilege to be training as an artist, a life of fun and freedom, all the challenges and confrontations with life and the world at my finger tips. A chance to celebrate life in all its beauty and to delve beneath the surface like an act of love and devotion embracing your entire possibility, a life where everything has a reason and there is a reason for everything. Idealism reigned and anything was possible, you dressed how you liked and put two fingers up to the establishment and you started to really live it large.

I was a hard-working student making up for my childhood lost to day dreaming and innocence, just being just a boy, I was awakening to the world and used my study to make a difference to my life,  laying down strong foundations through studying the figure and learning about the technical aspects of sculpture. I wanted to have the freedom to be able to make what I wanted and, somehow I knew at an early age that  a more resounding depth would come through lifes experience. Now after 30 years I feel as much at the beginning as I did then, my sense of awe remains fresh and vibrant and I struggle to remain afloat in the heady mix of amazing possibility. I still feel overwhelmed by naivety and as always that I’m just on the cusp of  making a breakthrough, even though my journey has been about making countless such breakthroughs.

In one sense my loosely cobbled life strategy has worked though my road has been rocky, wheels periodically fall off my wagon through lifes knocks, but somehow the journey continues, always with hope and love.  Here and now in the present I need to fix a wheel back on because issues have arisen that bring discomfort to my whole. I need to realign my approach to life and art and put into place some vital pieces of my complex jigsaw, because I’m guilty of forgetting about the fundamental idealism that makes human experience big. Namely accepting people for who they are and allowing a greater integration into society based on an inner contentment and self belief as opposed to disproportionate comparative analysis. That by being comfortable in the singularity of my own existence I can exist happily in a throng of a society that may contain diametrically opposed elements and that my content will not be from comparative judgement but an acceptance of difference. I believe it is about strength and conviction that leads you into still waters where you create your own splash or exist happily in the calm.  I see the power and strength of being yourself in the face of adversity is what ultimately defines your existential reality and therefore it’s about taking the responsibility and understanding the consequences of your lifes gestures. Art has no barriers and visits all areas of life be they inconvenient or not, it challenges the very notions of beauty ugliness and pulls the mat from under our feet, because it questions all we take for granted. As an artist you are sometimes left to endure these challenges alone as people tire of your quest, they are brutal challenges that test you to your psychological limits and out of it we the artists make offerings and gestures for recognition and as a way of  earning a living to survive. Art is complicated,deep and fundamentally important to humanity as a whole, It touches most of us often in ways we cannot put words to and there lies the true value of art, art touching people in the intimacy of  the connection that touches the singularity of being.

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For a long time the reactive consequences of being an artist have troubled me, forcing  me into a more defensive mode as I felt overwhelmed by reactions to me and my art, my insecurities were truly exposed through the way my work was used as leverage to manipulate my direction. In reality this is just normal conduct but to a struggling artist it was deeply wounding, but these wounds have motivated me more than anything else ever has and ultimately are the making of me as an artist. Though I realised this week after a conversation with my 12-year-old son that you also have to move on, by dropping the negative baggage before it leads to bitterness, because realising your dream can only happen when you focus on it. In life the company you keep is relevant and sentimental attachments can cloud your vision when you allow them to direct your life, because by not living within the comfort or parameters of your inner being, your vision becomes blurred and a collision with destiny awaits. It is here that the truth of ones existence appears, out of the conflict to maintain the integrity of  your calling in the face of opposition. We all have to compromise in life but at what point does compromise become submission, the state in which ones identity is truly threatened. I’m sure this dilemma is infinitely complex to most of us, though again I can only speak from my own observations and what I feel as I contemplate and search to express myself through my art.

The social aspects of life interest me on many levels and as  I get older I’m drawn towards more sincere connections because of a sense of purpose that I need in my life, I want to understand why I’m driven to exploring depths and I enjoy discovering about similar experiences in others whose lifes are different, but in the crossing of paths we discover similar goals. It is from such meetings that I realised my art had a meaning beyond vanity and ego and that the value of my creativity lay in the wisdom it brought to my life. A wisdom pertinent to my own existence and not some conceited universal notion that is relevant beyond the few who take an interest. Here I’m experiencing a contentment that was of an imperative need, an understanding that my work has a place and that the folly of unrealistic ambition and expectation is a mere distraction of a superficial nature.

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I have a lot to be grateful for in life and I still feel intact, I’m achieving possibilities on a human level that I never imagined and am able to cope with the complexities and resolve many issues which brings a level of peace deep within. My journey is fuelled by a curiosity, almost a primeval drive that allows me to thrive on the challenges that life offers and brings a level of wisdom that silences my desperate search for purpose. Each day seems to bring small gifts that add to lifes rich tapestry, adding purpose and understanding to life itself. I’ve always felt that consciousness is our beautiful gift, offering an endless wealth of possibility, exposing the true value of life on earth with value and substance. Life is full of choices and we reap the consequences of those we take, I want to feel happy with the choices I have made but it is not easy with the material hardship I endure, but in the scheme of things it may be a small price to pay for a high level of freedom.

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