Not knowing where to start, we can start from here, from tonight.
Of all the nights, why not tonight?
I picked up my electronic pen, my fingertips, so many times, only to put it/them back in the drawer.
Fragile, breakable souls…we get overwhelmed so easily…we take so much time to process.
Life is always a zero or thousand percent experience to an artist…we know no ‘efficiency’ or safety…and we crave intensity because, for some of us, that is what art and life is made of.
I tend to store moments, spaces, bodies, souls, words, in mental collages as white-hot and dangerous as rocket turbines.
Fuel for the winters of life, emotions that could only be collected in tranquility.
Yet, what if life moves so fast that there is no time to process it through artwork?
The real life of absorbing work, passionate friends, culture, travel, service, relationships, often happens faster than art, words, and poetry…and demands to be lived with our heart on ‘fingertips and tongues’, as Fernanda Pivano writes.
To be an artist, which is never a choice –or at least not a choice than any sane person would make– requires that not only we live life at its fullest, but that we show up to our craft, that we transform the energy of our life, entropically, into artwork.
As soon as things get a little off- balance, that is, too much time passes without creative outputs, the feeling of being overwhelmed begins. Because the storing of information and experiences that will translate into artwork never stops in an artist.
Sacrifices need to be made…time-outs need to take place for the alchemical crafting of life into art, yet that doesn’t/can’t always happen.
Where does one start, then?
Digging through more than a year’s worth of raw, brilliant life, stupendous falls and magnificent failures….when does collecting become hoarding?
When there is no sharing. Most of us are compelled ( condemned? ) to offer up our work. These words, these ideas, these posts, need to leave my mind so that I and them can be set free.
Then there is time, and guilt.
Time away from the craft that is transformed into guilt.
This is an evil cycle for artists, made worst with each passing day. It is a sort of paralysis, a mental block due not to lack of ideas, but due to too many — coupled with the most peculiar fear of success.
And muses, muses inspire, but also distract, and disrupt. It is in the nature of muses and we won’t fault them.
How many times have I promised myself the return of myself – in full glory? Is this it?
Then I read an introduction to an art exhibit in Rome, something about the concept of ‘taking time’ — the fact that art is also made of the fallow time it took to process life, that the in-between time of silence is an intrinsic part of evolutionary works….
A work of art is not only what is visible to the eye, but the result of a complex journey, of going-away and re-compositions
The exhibit, which I will never see and exists as a sort of Borgesian riddle
( I have the instructions, yet no machine; this being the whole point of the instructions) aims to
“underline the value, priceless, of that golden moment which is the possibility of producing a kind of thought that looks at art , without the anxiety of having to furnish a product. These works ( we will never see them, therefore we can imagine them as we wish ) have a baggage full of the process that matured and realized them. It is the difference between looking and seeing.”
In these two years, I learned the importance of chaos, and that one must respect it and love it as an akward child.
I learned of nesting, and of working on a home as a temple.
Without order, at least for me, there can be no art, just escapism.
I learned I solve myself by working on external harmony.
(Or maybe I was just avoiding myself, and procrastinating.)
I learned patience, which is not burning anymore, but peaceful. I learned that forgiveness is part of the creative process. And so is letting go.
I learned I am not reading enough books.
I learned that, when I am too tired to do anything else, and sleep does not come, words are there, images are there…and I can go into my vaults and cellars and create something to share with you.
I can write.
It is not academic writing –that will come in time–but something that likes to combines poetic prose or poetry with images. This is the sound my soul would make, if it could sing.
This output brings me immeasurable joy. More importantly, it keeps me alive.
I was recently, and repeatedly, reminded of the quote :
Find what brings you alive,
and do it.
The truth is that without showing up here, my soul atrophies. Simply put, it has become a matter of survival.
A lady I know and love likes to say, in matters of home organization,
You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up;
I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?
So I will start from where I am tonight, and work my way back, back through these past two years in images. As I said, I can offer more words and photographs than drawings and paintings at this point.
I decided to stop beating myself up for this.
I will jump in where we are too, with current (attempts at) drawn and painted work, back to using my hands everyday.
Consider this my artistic physical therapy after the most wonderful accidents.