Remnants Collage 17
24" x 30" on canvas
I've been talking with a friend about the role art has played in our lives. About how art is a mirror to what is going on in our lives, how it seems to leave us when times are difficult. (But not really, it just steps aside so we can get the business of living out of the way.)
I've not been an artist for a long time, about a dozen years. When I think back to where I started to what I do now, I step back and pause and wonder what will be sitting on my work table in another dozen years.
I can mark major events in my life by the way my art shifts. And each time it did, I had to get to know myself all over again.
It was not easy.
I would walk away from it, unable to face its demands for weeks, even months at a time. I think there is a misconception that to be a good artist, a great artist, you have to live a dream life of producing nothing but perfect art all the time. That your life is a greeting card where everything falls into place simply because you want it to.
Being an artist is damn hard work.
And if you are willing to accept that into your life, you can weather the shifts, pour more of yourself into your pieces, you'll come out the other side with work that speaks to you on a primal level.
That's what I want for my art. If nothing else, I want it to follow my life and reflect what is going on. I want to be connected to it in a way that when something major happens, I can't help but spill it onto the fabric.
Everything about making art is an ebb and flow. Sometimes it will seem as if it just pours out and other times, you'll stand in your studio with a headache building asking the air why you're bothering at all. The hard times produce the good times. There cannot be one without the other. When we struggle with what we want our art to be, that's when we get to know it the best, make it the most honest.
I'm in an upswing period right now. Every time I finish a collage, I sit back and feel a small wave of content exhaustion. I'm putting energy into it, feeding it. And that's how I know I'm getting it right.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that you have to wait for inspiration to make art. Just work. And who cares if it sucks. Doing the bad art means you've crossed off one more thing that you don't like, that you're one step closer to making the work that will sing.
I'll never know exactly how it all works. And I don't think I want to. The dance of changing and examining and being present keeps me tied to the process. Its where I want to be all the time and the constant longing for that has become a way of life. A way of life that I am happy to embrace.