We've had a major snow storm here, so my studio time has been cut short again this week although I managed to create four more Maps of the Night that I hope to share with you soon. I am a bit bothered by not being able to work in the studio as much as I would like, but I know that this is a time for ideas to germinate and new ones to surface. It is a time for remembering and examination.
I have spent this time looking at art, talking about art, and thinking about the way an artist's brain works. Thinking about why we do this and why we continue to create in the face of so many obstacles. Do we create for ourselves, for others, an imagined audience? Are we playing a part, the role of artist? What does it all mean and what is the point? These certainly aren't new concerns, and I think many have wrestled with all of these at some point and will continue to do so throughout their working lives.
Everything we do as artists is preparing us for the next thing. We are constantly in motion, trying, failing, reinventing and trying again and in that process we find our voices. This is not a neat and tidy process, and over a life time if we are lucky we'll find many voices, explore many themes and directions in our work. We just keep showing up, we just keep working, we just keep fighting.
When I look at an artist's works, I like to be reminded of the human behind the work, the brain behind the art, with all the stops, starts and awkward sputters in between. I like to see the variations in the themes that the artist explores over time. They might be known for one particular body of work, but there are hundreds of other paintings in the past that had to come before their voice solidified, before the work that put them on the map was created. These are the works that are lesser known, or perhaps the works that the artist never lets us see.
I guess I am writing this today because I know there are many artists that continually struggle with their work, their unsold paintings, their gallery rejections, and the dismissal of their work by family and friends. Sadly, this is part of the job description, simply a part of the process. You can let this crush your spirit and rob you and the world of your art or you can channel it into your work and rise above. I believe so strongly in the power of art and I know it is worth fighting for. There are countless bad and unsold paintings in my past, rejection slips, awkward comments by well meaning friends and the not so well meaning. I do not have impenetrable skin, it always hurts and it always derails me for a bit, and then I know I have a choice. My choice is to return to work. I hope that will always be your choice too, because the world needs your art.
Perhaps you'd like a soundtrack for your fight.