Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Autumn is here and it's gorgeous, the leaves are turning and whatever the weather the skies are full of moisture which makes them glisten. This is all good. The turning of the seasons, year on year, is a quiet rhythm, a beat that holds steady all the lives that live upon the earth. 
But art-wise I'm feeling a little out of sorts. It's not long since I graduated, two years is a fair while from student-hood but it's a long way from being an established artist. I am essentially one drop in an ocean of artists. 
Sometimes I look at other people's work and I wish that had as much presence and drive as they seem to have. I wish that my work was better. I wish that I felt more sure of myself. I wish I felt more sure that what I am doing is the right way forward.
I think to myself "this is autumn. I am pulling in the harvest". And if I think over the course of the year and evaluate what I have done I think I've done o.k. I have banked experience and created one piece of work of which I am fully proud and also made some successful experimental forays into other ways of working. 
But I am still so very far from finding out who I am, and I am still making horrible amateur ugly work. Maybe that never goes away. Maybe my mistakes, my malformed babies, are the dark matter from which the good stuff eventually appears but while I'm doing that how do I pay the bills, how do I keep motivated when I feel useless and weary.
In the age of the internet there is a flood of images of other people's work, it's inspiring, and wonderful, but also somewhat daunting. A part of me believes that all these other people who are striding forward, making brilliant work are doing this all the time. But is that for real ? Or maybe they too spend lots of time, plodding, keeping on, doubting, hoping, holding on by the skin of their teeth, just making ends meet. Maybe they are doing that and what I see is the "here I am", the "look at me" because I put that out too. In reality I'm just a hopeful nobody. My hope is that I will make work that feels honest. And that sometimes it will speak to someone else. Once in a while I do but perhaps those moments, those meetings are actually as rare as real friends.  
Maybe that is what is so dispiriting about the work that fails, like messed up conversations that took two, or more, people in the wrong direction. Maybe that is what is so hard when work I love gets passed by, disregarded or rubbished, it's like giving my heart to someone and being told it's not good enough. 
I'm thinking out loud, musing because I cannot see a clear way forward and I feel a great need to be still and do nothing. Living in an active, fast paced, performance culture just being is never quite enough. There is little patience for passivity, for waiting. Is it is o.k to be quiet ? Is it o.k to fall into emptiness and take comfort from the silence and beautiful darkness and rare light of winter ?    

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