Honey and the Moon.

July 21, 2009

Wow, a piece of art that I can actually say that I’m *happy* with. How often has that happened in my life? Twice? Yeah, everyone is their own worst critic and even in this one, though I’m totally pleased with how the composition turned out, there are like these three little details that are driving me bats. This is why no, I do not have any of my own art on display in my home. It would totally make me crazy.

I was having a conversation with my mama yesterday about art, and my art in particular. She was mentioning that these new pieces have a lot more depth than the last stuff I was doing before, and yeah, that’s true. I was in a total fallow period this winter, preceded by my art getting really, really crappy. Part of the reason that I didn’t work was due to a complete dissatisfaction with what I was doing, and the accompanying self-doubt that everything I had ever done was crap and everything I would ever do again would also, inevitably, be crap. I truly believe that every artist goes through these periods where work is just totally, totally impossible. And then what do you do? Do you push yourself to work anyway and keep creating crap or do you wait for the funk to lift? That is, if you can be patient enough to trust that the funk will lift and not get in that headspace where you self-identify as the King Midas of crap.

My partner, who is an electrical engineer, was more vocally frustrated with my lack of work than I was. (As an artist, I simply brooded silently in my self-loathing.) He felt like it was a lazy cop-out to say that I was incapable of any original creative thought, and that the solution would be to just work anyway. On the one hand, I can see where he’s coming from, being that he works in the sciences. You don’t go through periods in engineering where you just can’t think about a circuit. You run some more equations and just keep going. And yeah, in art you can certainly “fake it until you make it” but then you have to live with the results.

I’m much prouder to have work that I’m happy with now following up a period of limited to no output this winter than I would be to have a large stack of crap that I created when I was in a creative funk. Quality vs. quantity.

Still, I think the ideal condition is to work towards a consistent artistic practice where work is a part of daily life, and not this thing that requires a lot of effort. It’s always when I stop taking myself so freaking seriously that I’m able to open up. And one of the side effects of not-working is thinking about working… and then work just becomes loaded with so much *meaning* that it’s become so much more than just “cutting things up and gluing them to other things.”

My partner also says that “art is all about having a good time.” He clearly did not go to art school. Of all the things that I’ve learned about art, “having a good time” was not on the list. It’s interesting to get a non-artist’s perspective on these sort of things, rather than being constantly mired in the continual search for MEANING. That was perhaps the most frustrating part of art school – having to have everything MEAN something. Sometimes a cigar is just a freaking cigar.

So, no, these tomatoes are not significant in any way, neither is the Polish coinage, and that’s ok with me.

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