Saturday, May 18, 2013
I'm working on a book: How to be Not an Artist (Negativity Will Save Us)
The first thing you have to remember is to think that being an artist is isn't special. When you can fool yourself in to producing things that you declare to be art you have to acknowledge the pedestrian pencil or paint in its viral messiness, the vast, strong, tightly bound canvas waiting, startlingly white, ready to absorb every indescretion lovingly, and throw back the answer to your particular and unique identity, not who you are but much much more, the answer in the various linguistic flourishes of each of your personalities. These are images that may release some surprise meaning or help free emotion that has been inside so long that it has coestablished itself along with the nurtured applications that your mother may have programmed upon you, or even give the casual viewer a short lived feeling of relaxation and pleasure. And when you come in to your studio and see nothing inspiring happening you must say to yourself, "well shit, so what?". And when all the colors are the same and they are all some variety of blue or even the same blue, then you can say, "eh".
And you can make imagery out of burning streets or emotions out of cool lakes, horses spinning around a track, girls steeped in despair, and naked, but nothing will liberate your ideas from the mountain ranges of popular culture, a race to advance our appreciation of the "new" from it's petty chains. In truth it is only a way to reach out to people and those people will only last so long and the feelings that they had for you, that admired the stuff that you made, will evaporate when they do. The thoughts that ran through their heads as they stood in front of your work and slowly edged their way to the front of several other people and then when they got close noticed the way that the paint dripped around the edge of the surface of the canvas and was slightly visible between the frame and the work, those moments will pass in to the most ancient class of conscious lights that fill our existence with starlike constellations of whole orientation.
But then you can think that you will model some planes of our world that will elevate the entire universe, make it organized and manageable, and fun and relaxing, by delving in to a painting and sustain the work on it forever as though the endurance of your physical labor and psychological manipulation is as interminable as evolution. You may put your art on a wall or maybe you will keep all your work to yourself and swear that no one will ever see it and you will live in some alter-nihilistic universe that swims in displeasure only when invoked by illusion but realizes effort still, and that is the foundation for the myth of the lonely, striving, and starving artist driven by his mania for the pursuit of the nothing.
Or then, you may scribble art with a pen until the energy in the pen and its ink run dry. So the funding sources you could have written to trying to explain the importance of what you are doing will never resolve their manifest destiny, or you will find a way to complete the writing, and hustle it down to the post office and weeks later it will be as if some giant cryptophillic vacuum cleaner had sucked your perfect words up and that was that - at least until you emptied the vacuum bag and suddenly there they were, a little crumpled and dusty but still..... and you would pick up the piece of paper and hold it to your breast as though it was a warm puppy, and remember how much more savvy you are than these giant money processors.
Or maybe you will be in a bright-new-day mood to buck up under the auspicious value of opacity - some reclusive nightmare of yours that has a shining hole in the bottom of it that draws you ever closer to that beautiful, and wonderful morning, but when you ask yourself, "why is this goodness like saying blah?" you have answered a question with a question and therefore mathematically ---blah is the answer.
But in the back of your thoughts your mother is still there saying, "artists don't make any money" and that will keep you from making any more art, or conversly make you create more: this prolonged exercise in self indulgence that is for free because that voice must be squashed. What better reason?
So when you find yourself staring at another empty canvas, or even your work table with its cans of brushes jabbing the air with their shiny ferules, and your tubes of paint humping each other as though some orgy was occuring, or maybe they are like the dead bodies piled after an awful disaster,..... and wondering why, then you will know that everything is really going well.
But nevertheless you continue to hunt a narrative into the woods where it can lie undetected, camouflaged as the almond, deeply green-except for the slightly-raised-pale-veins-leaf, or tree deeply rutted with furrowed bark smelling musky as only an organic material of ancient times trunk can, or a backyard fence that belonged to the neighbor whom you spied on as a child and who was an old lady standing, back to you, in a baroque grey room in front of her easil, in her vast and empty, palacial estate, giving you the virus of wonder in the first place, wonder of what lead to this vision of a statue surrounded by architecture and empty space, without a face, now in her bath robe, and alone, a sculpted representation of waning days of a life: the virus that makes some of us think that we can figure us out, when in reality we are simply never sure if the world in one person's mind is the same as the next person or if the table that you just put your book on is a solid object or something the multi faceted sensorary forces have made the perception solidity, a vast conspiracy of the universe to have some fun because of boredom like a wily dog would have it.
Perhaps you think that first love is to blame for this artist thing that you have because after you saw that young girl standing on her skinny steel-framed fire escape in the bright day, watching the street below - she, made up in red red lipstick, her eyes blue her skin pale, red wavy hair, you more than wanted her, you felt your skin and bones and organs pulled magnetically to her sundrenched innocence for no reason you understood, but knew it was impossible - she was far away and unreachable. And that vision that gave you the bug, that itch that could not be scatched, became the provacateur of your creativity.
But then if your imagination is running amok like a wild stallion suddenly on the loose chasing its tail, its eyes unfocused, its musculature vibrating in several different directions at once, defying anyone to place themselves in the desparately dangerous zone of reach, then you are probably about to steer clear of yourself and stay away from the paint and canvas unless of course you want to abuse it for fun.
By now you have forgotten how to be not an artist but remembered something... let's see what was it?