5/04/2005

Being an artist #2

What do I do next? Have you ever finished something, reading a book, seeing a film, anything, and been left with an empty sort of feeling. Sure you enjoyed the experience and feel a certain sense of fulfillment but part of you wants to hold on to the sensations generated. Keep feeling those good feelings. How you wonder can you extend those sensations. Now imagine if you have poured your entire being into the creation of something. You've sweated and sworn, overcome frustration and other obstacles, until finally you are finished. You sit bathed in the glow of accomplishment. Look at what I've done! In the first instance you can sit around and talk about a movie or re read a book, it may not completely recover the original sensations, but it is compensation. But now think of the artist who has just finished a book or a painting. She is left without such an easy resolution. Creation is a highly personal experience, you can't share it with anyone. You probably can't even explain to yourself sometimes where inspiration came from. Worry sets in that you'll not have anything else to say, or worse yet that no one will care about what you have said. Its especially difficult if you don't have an audience. The musician, dancer, and actor can get an immediate response to their work, but not the painter or the writer. Without putting themselves at the mercy of an intermediary their work will sit unseen and unread. But worse is the fear that you'll never do anything good again. What if that was it, all you had in you? Could this have been the time the well runs dry? The stereotype of the "artistic" temperament has nothing to do with affectations donned like a cheap suit by so many posers, nor hissy fits if you don't get your way but is a result of the joy and depression of the creative process. If you know someone who is an artist, you'll have observed this on a first hand basis. When he is creating he is flying, after a piece is completed their is a period of momentary satisfaction, but if nothing new is forthcoming it is pretty soon followed by a period of depression. Countless efforts are made to fill the void but nothing can replace the completeness offered by being in the moment of creativity. I have seen artists so crippled by the fear of not being able to create something else that they will leave work unfinished, or take years in its completion, because they worry so much about what they will do next. Months and even years will be spent trying to find the path to completeness, they may even leave art behind and try their hand at a myriad other things, but they will always retain that certain sense of dissatisfaction that in the end forces them to return to their true calling. We are all victim of our passions to some extent or another, be it as simple as cravings for chocolate or sweets, but the artist is held at gun point by the need to create. The capricious nature of the means to obtain their hearts desire, coupled with the motivation that drives the impulse(expression and dissemination of ideas) and the difficulties inherent to that purpose, combines in extreme cases to simulate the characteristics of manic depression. The ratio for this seems to be that the mare the artist puts of themselves into the work, the higher the quotient of emotional involvement, the greater the risk of falling victim to the pendulum. Seeing how the more sensitive the artist is, the greater the work, is it no wonder that the most precious works of art seem to be produced by those most different.
Differences don't make the artist,
The artist makes the difference
I have mentioned my wife in a couple of posts recently, and have included a link to her web site, Old Voices, on this page which includes samples of her poetry, paintings and photos, so I'd thought you'd might like a glimpse of her.
She calls this piece "Tree Gypsy" and I would think the reason are obvious. Just so you know the above posting and the picture are coincidental, even though both Eriana and I suffer form the vagrencies of the muse from time to time.
cheers
gypsyman

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