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Why you have to go it alone

November 21, 2014


I see my life as a navigational challenge, where in order to achieve contentment I must find  a path or direction based on my own experience and intuition.  I have my own version of art history, I have my own definition for art and my own take on what actually defines being an artist. All of which, is of the utmost importance to my life and future directions, at the moment I feel closer than ever to being what I consider  an artist to be, but I know that this is quite tenuous and something that is always worth reviewing. Much of my life has been a battle in which compromise damaged my output of work and self-esteem as an artist and untill recently it was hard to find the courage to just explore my  possibility openly. Sometimes just saying like it is, appears to be so hard to do because it doesn’t always go down well. Recently I’ve changed the course of my life  around and my only hope is that I didn’t leave it too late, because I really want to experience creative freedom. When I look at the art world both in historical and contemporary contexts, I realise that very few people touch on artistic freedom and meet the criteria that I would apply to being an artist. As always this is my opinion and all part of my personal thinking that guides my approach to art, my thoughts change through time and as I always say “there are no absolutes”.  The great thing about being a nobody is that you can say what you like and make what you like, once you get over the fact that you are just another pebble on the crowded beach.


Once upon a time I happily existed and practiced my art within the confines of what I felt was the legitimate (art world) bandwidth, even though it was an awkward relationship. Awkward because I could never be utterly frank about my thoughts and beliefs, awkward because when I stepped out of line I felt the invalidation and rejection. This problem I had appeared benign in many ways, but art starts with an intent and a corrupted intent invalidates the purity of expression. So if my intent is about a conformity to perform within the parameters of art world acceptability, it is not free and I am compromising and we artists are groomed by this system. The sad truth is that art has become an in-house phenomenon, art based on a reaction to previous art and an ongoing establishment of chronological convenience. A self-perpetuating, self-contained world of art,  in which the moneyed overlords preside over  the elite who appear to “truly” understand the cumulative esoteric knowledge, the messengers spread the word and the foot soldiers through pretence aspire to being accepted within the club. This is the art world band wagon gradually drawing the artists into its slip stream and this is not my rightful place.


You see I always knew that art was a human expression to be shared with all, regardless of status. And as an artist all I ever wanted to do was make art and in exchange I hoped to be afforded a level of dignity. But my reality has been a life in which I have had to battle to retain my core identity and principles, where I’ve faced disillusion and despair  and my greatest moments have come in the solitude of my studio, limited to a simple personal experience. Which leaves me standing in a situation where I finally realise that this is it, my life, my reality and my fate, which actually feels good to just realise who I am, to be content with it and to keep on keeping on.


I don’t owe anything to the world and the world owes nothing to me, which means I’m finally free. So I detach myself from sentimental expectations and the emotional pressures which feed on insecurity and I realise that I alone am the sole proprietor of my creative output and the reaction to it will be whatever it is, all I can do is make it and I can’t even defend it, because I choose not to use my art as a bargaining chip. The truth is that there is so much bullshit in the art world that I’m utterly sick of it and no longer wish to play that game of semantics and pretence. Yes I say bollocks to all that and I still believe that art speaks for itself, if it’s any good. I make my art because it feels right and some people may think it is utter shit whilst others may enjoy it and think it’s fantastic (in my dreams lol). I can only work happily without pretence, just doing what I feel is right and even though I’ve always known this I have been stitched up like a Kipper may times and been drawn into areas of utter meaningless. I’m not particularly intelligent by any of societies measures and conversely I’m not stupid, but what I do bring to my art is a deep connection delivered through sincerity, something which has no value in the currency of contemporary society. Don’t get me wrong I love living the life of a rebel and I always have, the only problem is that rebellion is all too easy these days and I need something more dramatic to give substance to my life. Even by writing this blog I’m reacting to the provocation and goading that artists receive in society, my problem is that I got so pissed off that even 436 blogs wont cure it. I must admit that sometimes I would love to work and think in the solitude of a withdrawn life, like I did for so many years when I was younger, but there is still more to get off my chest and more irritation to cast into the ether.


An interesting artist once said  “From my experiences I must declare true love to be fantasy and the only true bonds are through blood” Upon understanding this they felt free to explore life with a new objectivity. I find this very interesting, because so much of our lives are based on quite spurious notions of compliance, in fact society depends on it and art dies with it. But the point is about one of objectivity and truth, emotion, sentiment, attraction, all significant states of being and relevant to art. However my point is that our empirical wisdom through experience is all that we hold of self defining substance and that sentimental notions of what it could be, may in fact be a mere distraction to our lives. Here lies the secret to being honest with yourself, an area beguiled with emotion reaction and confused through conditioning, because how can you make sense of your emotional response. Do you live through empirical experience in a pragmatic way or in conditioned expectation, which is a bit like buying a lottery ticket so that you can always live in hope. For my own little life I have chosen to trust my judgements and live according to my limited experiences because they have shaped me, I can still see how a parallel life would have resulted in a different outcome and particularly how a kinder set of circumstances would have tempered my forensic deconstruction.


My life has in many ways been quite cruel and brought great hardship, all of which has shaped me and brought me to a place where my art being anything other than a voluntary truth is unacceptable. Life is simply too important to play with and despite all the shit I’ve put up with I still feel the beauty of being inside, which is why I often write please be beautiful on my drawings. Maybe I’m being naive, but I still believe most people are beautiful inside even though it’s heavily disguised by the awkwardness of existing within convention and expectation.


During my adult life  the death of my sister Wendy (31) followed by the death of my other sister Amanda(42) and finally my Mother Maisie from a broken heart taught me the cruelest lessons that life could hold. But above all I realised that death is a fine line from life and that to live a life without realising your potential is just a waste, to live a life thwarted, frustrated and in bondage to irrational expectations is senseless. How can you live a life with hopes and dreams and just allow them to be crushed, how can you let people make your life a misery and ruin this precious gift, yet we all do it. My sisters had so much to offer but life tempered their possibility as it did mine and upon the death of my mother I finally decided that I would try to truly live my life each day. My experience has been my own little epic and slowly but surely I’m walking my walk once again, only this time there is a resolution behind each step and a purpose. I have something to prove for myself and a life to live with meaning and purpose.


So in all honesty where am I right now, well I can say that occasionally I touch relative freedom, but I must confess that in the internal dialogue of my creative process the temptations are still there and often my only path to salvation is by seeing my work as purely personal and not for sale or exhibition. The reason being that if I’m indifferent to any reactions or bargaining ploys, then I’m free to do what the hell I please, even though this is counter intuitive to the whole purpose of art as a shared gift. My other overwhelming concern is the sheer weight of my own history which I cannot ignore, and how it influences my current creative flow, however all of this is a fascination out of which I hope to further understand my state of existence. I love it and I hate it in equal measure, it taunts me yet rewards me and above all it takes me  to areas of thought that I never dreamed of. I’ve really no idea of where I will end up and what will come of my lifes endeavour and the truth is that I don’t really care beyond  an enriched experiential journey.


Please be beautiful inside

❤ ❤ ❤


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