Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finding a voice without a mouth

This blog is undergoing a small (de?)evolution ...

One of my original concepts was for this blog to partially focus of my musings and thoughts with regard to my art, and perhaps even my philosophy regarding art in general. So since I am not as active in studio lately... that is exactly what I am doing ;)


Ya see, for the past several months, years, decades, centuries, etc. I have been considering the question "what am I trying to say with my work?".

At some point in my misguided past I had thought that all I wanted to do was paint pretty pictures; but as a recent post explored, even in my misguided youth I was imbuing an element of heart/emotion/myself into my work making them more than just pretty pictures.

I have never in my life been particularly religious, but religion and religious concepts (iconography, themes, stories) have always fascinated me. From the Buddha to God, to Moses, Mohammad, and Jesus, and even Izanami (イザナミ) , Odin, Zeus, and others... the way people through history have tried to interpret the unknown/unknowable has created some of the most creative and fantastic ideas ever conceived.

Now, so taken was I in my earlier days that I studied comparative religion in college as well as read as much as I could about the academics of religious history... (unfortunately in my old-age I have allowed that to fall off and I am not as well read as I once was.... but whatever!) I even went as far as writing my own creation myth (which I may post up some day).

As a result, looking back at my work over the years I can see the influence of this imagery and iconography... and I have littered this blog posting with some examples, in case you were wondering ;)

Which brings me back to my artistic voice... I think that this piece below (which I know I have posted before) illustrates what I am trying to go for... let me sum it up by giving you the full title:

The Angel sees herself through the eyes of those who have adored her, and has determined herself to be unworthy... so she strips herself of her wings



insight from another artist on art and being an artist... (moved from my other blog)

For those of you who may not have read this before I want to post up a quote from another artist about art... and if you have read it? well, here it is again ;)

Juliana Hatfield (view her Blog here!) happens to be one of my favorite musicians and has been for going on 15 or so years now. I have a lot of respect not only for her talent as a musician, but also for her remaining true to her artistic vision over the years. Unlike Juliana I have a difficult time quantifying and/or explaining my thoughts as an artist into coherent descriptions, as I often prefer to let my work speak for itself... a few months back she wrote the following regarding the artist and an artists process in her blog and, simply put, I could not have said better:

An artist can’t have a full-time day job and be an artist. Well, he can for a while but at some point he will reach the point at which he realizes that there will never be enough hours in the day for him to fully explore and discover and develop all he needs to with his “real” work (his art). That’s why artists have and have always had patrons. The patrons understand what is at stake. An artist working full time at a day job, even if he likes that job, may never reach his full potential as an artist because life is too short. There are special cases – super-energized and -confident and -motivated freaks of nature with otherworldly metabolisms, who need only two hours of sleep per night and so can Work in full stride before and after “work.” Those people maybe can do it all. They can Work all night long and then go to “work.” Me, I like sleep too much. Without adequate sleep, I can’t Work. Or “work.” Definitely can’t do both.

Most artists need time to be “idle.” “Idle” is another word for “ready” and “prepared” and “available.” Like a doctor on call. “Idle” time is time in which to wait for inspiration to strike and then flow freely. An artist must be able to jump on it at any time. The muse can be a capricious bitch-tease. We have to always wait for her. My door must always be open for her to walk through – if I go to “work” and lock the door, I may miss her when she comes. Or if she comes to visit me while I am at “work” I may have to shrug her off (“go away I love you and I need you and I so hate hate hate to do this to blow you off and I want nothing more than to sit down in some quiet spot with you and give you my undivided attention for as long as you want to be here”) because I am busy with some “work” task and I don’t want to – can’t afford to – get fired. And that may piss her off and she may then not want to come back for a long time. She may want to punish me for not being there for her.

You may think Vincent Van Gogh was a bum for spending so much time painting and drinking absinthe in bars when he never had any money; for scrounging off his brother Theo who would lend Vincent money and/or send Vincent the paints and canvases that Vincent couldn’t afford. But Van Gogh wasn’t a slacker. He was the opposite; he was an insanely dedicated artist. If he had had to go to “work” every day eight hours a day and couldn’t paint all the time I think he would have lost his mind a lot sooner.

Dammit... I gotta pay the bills.

Friday, June 5, 2009

so... I sit during my allotted lunch break, perusing the blogs I frequent, noticing no new posts... so I write my own!

In periods of emotional distress or personal hardship, I find that I become less inclined to be creative or artistic, if you will.

Now, I wasn't always like this. Over the years I have learned to go into a sort of "survival mode" as a means to focus on the necessary rather than becoming too bogged down in the doldrums and the dreaded self-pity. Don't get me wrong, faithful viewer... I do have those flashes, but one must maintain a brave face and accept what is rather than pine for what cannot be.

I recall the days of my youth long past (lol) when during a stage of distress I would retreat to my sketchbooks or paints... I would pour out all that was affecting me in some form or another. Looking back on my work from high-school and early college, I see a panorama of the turmoils of my youthful angst, a monument to my early forays into love and emotion all the time while doing this, I attempt to ignore the lower skill level and focus more on the content contained therein... seriously, I am aghast at some work that I was once so proud of ;)

I miss those days when I was able to so acutely define in image my feelings... nowadays, though I feel my skill level has improved a bit, I feel like my work is just an example of my skill and not a manifestation of my soul; conversely this might not be a bad thing, because if I am drawing at least I am staying practiced, but the problem is that lately ... I have not been drawing.

again, I suspect it is as a result of my "going to ground" but that doesn't make me feel any better about it. The good news is that somewhere along the line, in a slow, meandering, subtle, and gradual pace... I LEARNED to shut down... so that means I can UNLEARN this behavior, as well! RIGHT?!

Well... no. I mean, I can... but why in heck would I want to relearn all of the foolish angst of my youth that I have striven to learn and grow up from? BUT there are aspects (such as the connection of my art to my emotions) that I would like to repair, relearn, cultivate.

Now, I consider myself a person who has a pretty good grasp on how he feels about things (numb, mostly ;) but seriously; I may have my issues (then again, who doesn't?) but I say what I mean and I do what I say... I am just having a hard time drawing what I feel.

There is an idea for a painting that I have had for months, if not years, and I seem to keep getting closer; but I am having a hard time executing it. I need to paint it. ahhh... maybe this weekend.