I haven't been here in quite some time, I guess I felt I didn't have anything to contribute. That may or may not be true. Above is my most recent piece of artwork, I finished it at the end of last summer. ;)
I have been very preoccupied during the last several months by an awesome new job. Very awesome it is, but very preoccupied I have been. I now work at The Stranger as a production designer - a job I didn't go looking for but that came my way anyhow! It's really the only design job I can imagine myself working - the environment is interesting, the folks are great, the work is fun, and the hours are flexible - so great there! I've never had this type of job before and it has taken a lot of time and energy to adjust. This is a very big change for me - but lately I've been feeling more comfortable, my rhythms are starting to feel more familiar and I think I'll be seeing balance return to the rest of my life soon.
Another reason I've been away is because I feel my relationship with art changing, and I've been avoiding the task of articulating it. To try and put it briefly - I see my art making moving further into the realm of personal practice. It's always been a personal practice, but in the past I think I've (largely subconsciously) expected much more from it. And those expectations haven't always been helpful. Last year in particular I felt very strongly that I needed to participate in an art show or gain some artistic recognition somehow. I felt a lot of pressure and I really, really, wanted some external validation to "justify" what I was doing and the way I was living. (Now I want to go back and give my last year's self a big hug.) But as I pursued this validation and justification I found myself feeling weird. I don't really like that process, or that part of "being an artist." I don't particularly enjoy the "art world" (or scene, or whatever you want to call it) and I don't really care for promoting myself or competing for attention in such a saturated market. (So saturated!!) And as I talked to more people about art I felt more and more like I was coming from a different place. (That's hard to say, because really I have no way of knowing where other people are coming from when it comes to making/viewing/thinking about art. It could all be in my head, maybe I'm just projecting, or maybe I just don't get the art world or what it means to be a contemporary artist?) Anyway, I guess I felt interested in different aspects of art than most of the people I was talking to. I'm less interested in form, or technical ability, or concept (though those things are cool) and more interested in the story it tells for the person who made it and the stories it tells for the people who view it. Those are the things that draw me to art. In the middle of the night once I had an epiphany - people make art to tell stories we can't tell any other way, that's the role art plays for humanity - and that's where I'm coming from. What stories are we telling each other subconsciously through art? What sort of communities and cultures and selves are we creating with those stories? Making art is a soulful process for me, I wanna get all mystical and far out when I'm around it and talk about symbols and mythology and personal journeys and stuff. Maybe I just haven't found the right crowd, yet.
So that's where I'm at. Moving away from the search for external validation and continuing on the path of personal practice. I think it's going to be challenging, but it'll also be a huge relief to let those motivations go.
I read something today about "energy pies" each of us has one and we divide it amongst all our hobbies, commitments, responsibilities and interests. The key is to divide it up in a way that will make the most efficient use of the energy pie and help us reach our goals. Investigating the state of my energy pie is going to be my homework, maybe I'll share my findings here next time around!