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Those Wilderness Years

May 2, 2015

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I’m coming to the end of a transitional period of my life and as the dust settles I’m becoming aware of just why I needed to bring about change and the consequences of finding a new direction. I have struggled a great deal and only now can I feel the changes and what they mean to my life as an artist. In short it has been a liberation and I have found a deeper source of inspiration through a much more open-minded approach. It’s based on honesty and accepting the vulnerability of being open, something which takes courage in a world where we are so quick to judge people who step out of line or show difference. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, by doing and saying just what you believe in, you absorb the judgements and just keep moving forward in a realisation of sincerity. After all art is about breaking the moulds and moving forward into the unexplored and improbable, you just jump in and find your way, even if that means living on the brink of one disater after another.

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It has taken four years to set myself free from the constraints that held me in bondage, caught in  a system that I don’t  feel upholds or celebrates the true values of what I believe art has to offer. The truth is that I didn’t really know why I was so deeply troubled beyond an  intuitive agitation. Intuition that was set to become my guide through  a rather rocky climb out of what was becoming a meaningless life. I had been lured into the system, becoming dependent on it to eek out my living, though I had never believed implicitly in the values I witnessed, nevertheless my life as an artist had become compromised. The compromise had recalibrated the intent of my work and polluted the cause, and I denied this actuality to myself as I became lost in a life that was lacking the kernel of truth that ignites authentic art. To put it bluntly I was underachieving and sacrificing my potential in order to fit within the parameters of a system designed for convenience and elitism. And now as I look back I see it clearly as a hideous abomination that denies the freedoms of art and serves up a rather poor feast to society. I know that all this may sound a bit extreme, but the intention of an artist is so important in defining a meaningful life, so much so that when you feel inhibited and compromised you are left with little to hold on to. The reality of being an artist is a total commitment and a profound duty within a society, because art gives you the time and space to explore our shared realities from a different perspective, to question what we take for granted and celebrate what our busy lives deny us. And because of this there is a huge responsibility that comes with the privilege, which is to show respect, and work with sincerity and so the work produced offers something of value to society.

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In contemporary society we are now so focused on the economic model of capitalism  that we are losing sight of the fundamental  values which underpin our existence. The how much did it cost, how much is it worth, is it a good investment culture is affecting how we view the world and it is a direction into which we are being coerced by the powers that be. Humanity just a market opportunity for the great entrepreneurial culture, in which we look up to those with money, because we are taught to admire the greediest people in the world, those who profit the most from their fellow-man. Yes it’s a crazy state of affairs, but we are so locked into it that it’s almost inescapable, even for artists who seek inspiration from a different source. And for my own cameo role, well my values clash so violently with those of the status quo that I struggle to find a way which will satisfy my soul and put bread on my table. I need to feel a reason and purpose for living and I can’t be fobbed of with meaningless platitudes because life isn’t a game and through art I believe I have discovered a deeper truth. A truth which has eroded my levels of self-deception and exposed the difference between style and substance and a truth which has become my inspiration and liberating force as an artist.

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From the outside my life will probably appear to be quite odd, but my own reality feels intense and genuine and my search through art feels quite noble and sharing. But as with all of us life is just a work in progress and I struggle to see the whole picture because of my limitations, limitations which I believe are a universal factor of being. Everything matters to me in my life because I choose it to matter and that is a choice which I understand and a choice which allows me to step back when I need to step away from the intensity. When I write I feel this absolute intensity, but then I could turn to my children and have a joke and a bit of fun, because there is a balance, in that as everything matters it also doesn’t matter in the scheme of  cosmic enormity.

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Back to my point 🙂 My recent issues as an artist stemmed from the fact that I had become detached from my original purpose as an artist and thrown into a commercial world of commodity, a world of vanity and show in which  the values of deep sincerity are surplus to requirement, sacrificed to economic dogma. I didn’t have the courage or ability to stand up and go my own way, because I didn’t realise what was happening to me and my art and it was only when I was taken to the brink that I finally realised the enormity of sacrificing my whole life for a few crumbs and a modicum of recognition. This period has truly awoken me to a whole new approach to art, based on the denial of what is just accepted as the historical knowledge and customs of the art world in general. I now know that I cannot compete in the competitive art world when I don’t uphold the values which underpin it, a knowledge which has set me free. Free to follow my own path as a simple solitary human being, unburdened by expectation or fear of judgement. I still love life and value it beyond anything. I see it as an utter privilege, a gift that should never be taken for granted and it’s for this reason that my art is really a celebration full of purpose and passion. Opinions are strong and rage within me and the intensity of the moment forces me into finding ways to express it out of me.

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❤ ❤ ❤

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