Sunday, June 14, 2015

Go ahead be an artist, I dare you

Before getting back to work I was thinking about being an artist.... someone who dedicates the bulk of their time to exploring ways of expressing their ideas essentially. It sounds rather mundane but the inner dialogue/narrative this sort of exploration arouses feels like living I suppose...

We all get ideas from time to time triggered by some event, let’s say an external event in this case. I enjoy watching YouTube talks by knowledgeable people, scientists and their like so I´m watching the video and something someone says peaks my interest, so much so that I feel I have to write it down in order not to forget. More specifically, that phrase or concept triggers a strong reaction [not a physical reaction but a noticeably altered state that clearly punctuates my awareness] I can feel it´s important to continue thinking about and it becomes almost instantaneously an image... let’s say an idea that can be illustrated. If I were an artist, I would spend the next available moment to making that idea shareable...

I say shareable but the intent is not necessarily to share it with other people... that comes later as the idea starts taking shape on paper... I mean shareable for a future me, a future me that will process the idea, in Spanish "darle vuelta"; turn it upside down loosely translated, to digest it [to allow it to nourish my imagination], to explore possible consequences of the idea's potential implications... what other thoughts does it lead to, and maybe even what do those connected thoughts connect to and so forth to my pleasure I suppose. Rationally and pragmatically, the ideas that generate the most interesting connections are the ones I'd feel most urgently needed to be expressed maybe...

So I take time to work on the illustration idea and here i suppose is where a more experienced artist might make a different decision... I chose to draw the literal version of the idea that came to mind rather than attempt to capture the feeling, sensation that idea sparked. i have no clue how that is accomplished, and i have very little experience with that sort of exploration... I imagine that an artist, being comfortable in a certain medium might begin to think about how this idea differs from previous ideas that sparked their imaginations.. what about it feels different, what about it feels familiar, which of these do I explore or do I just start exploring and see where it goes and am I sure it's worth exploring STOP!!

This is a familiar spot I've been in... that thought about the value of exploring an idea is a very slippery slope. Once I go down that road, in all the cases I can think of at the moment even if it's not actually me recalling them, this is where I turn to my gmail account and write myself an email with the subject heading: illustration idea and in the body I describe a bit of what I think the idea is about. Just enough for me to remember it and hit send. And there the idea stays, locked away. I have 23 of those piled up in my email account so far and that, more than the decision about what medium to use, or what part of the idea to express is what makes me not an artist.

So far I’ve lacked the discipline necessary to act on those ideas, despite my estimations of their worth, despite feeling that they were not good ideas or ... and this is the worst one of all!! despite what I fear other people might think of the end result.

That's the challenge... to overcome those initial hesitations, [and nay saying] and break through those self imposed constraints and make the effort to follow an idea wherever it goes until I no longer feel like following it I guess... no specific goal, or purpose or outcome in sight, just me and my ideas in continuous dialogue.

That´s a formidable challenge. The easy path is to just drop it, put it aside and shelve it but that has consequences of its own and has potentially an odd way of expressing itself as anxiety, stress, exhaustion, boredom, grief, or anger.

There´s a quote from star trek TNG that gets brought up sometimes. It´s part of a speech Picard gives to a human from 300 years ago relative that fictional future, where he says something about the purpose of human life being about bettering ourselves rather than pursuing material wealth... I don't agree with that actually... it's not about better or worse... that's also just an end product... answering our own questions persistently, continually [not succumbing to the temptation of relying on other people’s answers however satisfying that might feel], over and over and over and of course asking new questions and then sharing those answers, exploring alternative answers. Not comparing my answers with other people’s answers although there is some of that. How our answers to similar questions match up and differ is the source of our connection and potential disconnection. When we have similar answers we're said to be in sync, on the same wavelength, of like mind, in each other’s shoes.

And then I’m faced with this idea about the lazy artist and that art serves no purpose and it seems unfortunate to say the least. For those who believe that... I dare you to have an idea an act on it perpetually with all the effort and passion and creativity you can muster in spite of criticism you will face or struggles that will plague you and keep on doing that day after day after day for your thousands of days. That's the challenge... I dare you!!