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Who are We?

January 10, 2015

196

Defining self is no ordinary procedure and I would say it can take a lifetime to discover just a bit of who you really are, or for some, just who you are not. For me this point of how one defines self has always been an issue, to start with I never had a favourite colour or lucky number and I never had a specific taste for most things, like furniture and cars and if I really liked something, I didn’t know specifically why. In fact defining any sate of being is a variable feast and hard to isolate beyond generality. So the methods of defining myself according to judgements was always a grey area. The older I get the less decisive I have become about making the like/dislike judgements and I also  reflect more on observations and experiences. Another simplistic example of defining an aspect of identity is how you define beauty and ugliness, because beyond the initial reaction, both beauty and ugly fade with familiarity as you start to see what is there through your own objectivity. It would seem to me that many aspects of identity which we cling to are merely erroneous constructs which for some reason we are happy to fall behind as the markers of our being. Of course an easy answer is to say it’s all a matter of taste and that is ok for those who wish to be judged by how they judge, something that is not easy for the mechanics of an artist’s mind. And also what is taste and can we isolate it from the generalities of current trending as a marker of individuality. So is our identity based on a set of assumptions and our difference as much through unique circumstance as it is genetic. Of course I have no answers and I wonder if it’s too complex and variable to understand because there are no simplistic answers, which is why we are all charged with the responsibility of piloting our own beings.

The defining of self is for me a major part of my life as I evolve into that which I feel is me, you see, I’m a slow developer and I just don’t mind admitting how little I know lol. It makes my life more interesting as I discover things for myself, if on the contrary I assumed a whole catalogue of absolute beliefs, my entire life would be different as I would feel compelled to defend my entrenchment. You see, I feel an artist benefits from an open mind with a character that is slowly constructed through the art of discovery, starting out like a block of unworked clay or a blank canvas slowly formed and painted through time. Of course the problem with being like me is that societies expectations interfere with my process, which results in making my life a bit tougher than it should be. In reality it’s not a bit tough but a fucking impossibility, though I try not to let it get me down and utilise all my experience, because after all this life is all I have to go on.

In art it is common to make judgements, ooh I like that, I don’t like that, I wouldn’t put it on my wall etc etc but when you analyse these judgements they are often based on quite an arbitrary logic that is purely personal and often misguided by prejudice. I know my judgemental outlook was based on notions that were based on my conditioning and I’m still fighting to see things in a light that feels right and with an open mind, but it’s not easy. And just why this is so important to me is because I am determined to become an authentic artist in my own eyes and to teach myself to see the world in an open way in which I can produce art that I feel is true. This I feel will define my identity in a way that will satisfy my soul and make my life a worthwhile exercise, a life in which I lived how I saw fit.

The study for art is a most serious business and involves the breaking down of common perceptions and taste and to be quite frank it can leave you utterly lost as you erode the measures by which you gauge your identity. Many times my art has made me question “who the hell am I” and question the very mechanics of my actions, which is most unsettling, unsettling because it is a window into my stark reality, stripped bare and with no convenient answers. For me this is accessing the basic level of my own existence and through my art it is utterly fascinating even though I experience discomfort. I try not to dwell in this laid bare predicament, instead I use it to move forward with positive actions in ways that bring meaning to my efforts.

My recent personal identity crisis through art has been a huge problem for me, because it involved a faltering belief in my whole notion of what defined art in my own mind. My views on art were brought into question through my life experience and interactions and I realised that I had unknowingly held onto beliefs that were just an assumption  of conventional knowledge. I knew that in my changing state of consciousness I would have to dramatically alter my approach to life. For this purpose I engaged in a serious exercise “pimp my being” where I’m slowly addressing all the issues that concern my existence and I realise that together these issues are in fact my true identity. This process has deeply impacted on my sense of self and my changing ways of seeing art have altered  the core of my approach. The truth I feel is that I was wrong to follow the conventional western wisdom with regards to art and at the age of fifty I needed to get my life back on track. I’m nearly there now and you know what? this struggle has really been worth it, every single moment, because it has brought me to a state of being that I’m deeply grateful for and filled my life with meaning and hope.

Through drawing I try to explore myself through an open approach, I don’t calculate or contrive, instead I draw as openly as I can, a practice which is seeing some interesting results and taking me closer to discovering who and what I am. So my art has become a practice that is more holistic and involves the thought and contemplation derived from the multi disciplinary approach of writing, drawing and sculpture, each element now vital to my practice.

Bye for now beautiful blog world ❤ ❤ ❤

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