In order to be an artist, one must feel things. Not just certain things. Maybe everything. Maybe stuff you wish you didn’t feel. And from the craft and sorrow and pain, at times joy, the artist creates. Then, the end result is shared. Most artists want to be understood, need to be heard, therefore, sharing the work is a scary and integral part of the process. But you do it. And you brace yourself, hopeful that others feel what you feel. That they are moved. When that happens, it’s extraordinary. When it doesn’t, you scrape together enough confidence to tell yourself it’s ok. Sometimes, you never want to leave the house again. But then, that thing inside you which drives you to create, express, produce, shows up again with a new idea or direction. Or perhaps, a new dedication to that thing you’ve been at all your life. Making you feel and feel and feel…
We as an audience, come to take what we paid for and go. That is our role. But, consider how this may effect the artist. Imagine writing a song at your lowest point, then having to sing it over and over, because that is all we, “the audience” want. Not your new stuff. God forbid you become less fucked up than you were. Or go getting all married and having kids and think you might keep this as your “job”. Then, your “art” is produced for pay and everyone says you sold out. Makes you think you’d been better to die pretty and dramatic at 27. Die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Unless you blow your brains out like Kurt. That wasn’t pretty.
Addiction seems to follow artistic types. We work so hard to express ourselves in the most pure way. It is like always being on your tiptoes, constantly reaching for a bright light to burst forth with ideas and colors and stories. Sometimes things don’t work out that way. Sometimes, you’re so close that if only you could expand your mind further, you would create the perfect (insert your selection). So, you might try different things. Sometimes, you get peace and satisfaction. Sometimes, you don’t and that one is a big, dirty hole to crawl out of. Not getting it perfect. Not feeling the glow.
And so we keep trying. Left with little choice than to continue slogging it out. Failing just when you thought were brilliant, then, succeeding with something you didn’t even think was that good. Pursuing, stopping, starting, striving to find the balance of what your soul demands and what pays the bills. Sometimes, you feel like a cheap hack. Sometimes, you’re just happy someone said, “I like what you do.” Those easy, little words, “I like what you do”, is enough for you to feel the bloom, like the sun on your face and the warm arms of the goddesses and gods surrounding you, embracing, propping you up for another day as an artist.
Photo: Kim Hageman
Wings: Meg Reichenberger-www.sequinedgem.com