November 8th 13 years ago, my sister was knocked down by a motorcycle on a dreary rainy evening, she was in a coma for 21 days before dying….
This desperately heartbreaking incident became, as you can imagine, a massive ugly shadow over everything I have done since.
Initially it was impossible to really be creative, to think beyond the pain, to function meaningfully…. I was making dark, ugly, angry art…. too pained, often, to be approachable… but slowly, as I examined my grief, my anger, the emotional chaos, I saw tiny sparks of hope, light creeping through… not despite the sadness, but as a function of coming to terms with and understanding this grief.
Of course, so much of this sadness will always be with me, will always inform my artwork, how could it not, but it has also given me hope, knowing that one can find strength and light, and also, be able, hopefully, to communicate this hope to the viewing audience…. and so, that becomes a goal of sorts, and when, finally, you get feedback from this audience, even in the words of a single individual…. that is the justification for being an artist.. that is all that counts. The loss is not diminished, but the heart is still lifted……
So, I happen upon a new idea, it’s formulated, come together, some sleepless moments, some daydreams, but, there it is, I can see it, think it through….. now lets get it done..
My efforts fall short of my vision, it’s infuriating, so what do you do? Work, Work, Work, risk obliterating the initial idea, o get lost in a painterly sludge, murky and fading…
This is it really, often the truest challenge of creating an artwork, the execution. To create exactly what I’d envisioned…. perhaps, I should leave it, and work on something new, until such time as it is safe to return, fresh and un clouded…. but that doesn’t always work, sometimes I don’t want to leave, I’ve got to get it finished… so I plug away, hopeful, push-push-push… and eventually, with hope versus expectation of the drive, it starts to emerge… and now, when do I stop?, is it done? Still questions…..
often the most important decision to make for an artist is to not do anything more to a work… and let it breath/
What is the acceptable face of ambition for an artist? And how does it affect their work?
I constantly look at what I’m doing, what I intend to do, what I hope I achieve, and try to see wherein lies the ambition. I’m fascinated by how others would also quantify their ambition. Where are the levels? To make a living? To create something beautiful, or to create something meaningful…. and why not all three, no mutual exclusivity…
What level of ambition is enough? Or does that matter?
For me it’s to create, I do t know what else it could be, I don’t know what else to do…. if it’s successful, if it’s valuable, if it’s beautiful, does it add or subtract from the ambition. I’m not sure I know. I’m not sure how I would quantify these things… You make the work, and let’s just see….