It is a week into my month-long break from the studio - while I'm not "working" as such, show me an artist that can actually stop sketching, and I'll show you someone in a coma. The attachment to the process is not easily discarded, nor do I feel the need to be entirely distracted from the art. However, without the pressure, it's an opportunity to sit and contemplate art from all angles, to have that motion in observing and perspective - and I'm already further inspired, and stocking up on ideas for new works when I return to my normal working routine.
Taking time off was necessary for a number of reasons - some serious focus on meditation and shall we say, internal cleansing of the soul, started to feel like the need for a bath after a hot day in the dirt. The past year has been a massive learning curve, mentally, physically, emotionally, and it was due time to contemplate the road to this space and time, to put things in order, to give memories a home, and to get rid of anything that was no longer relevant. Detachment from the past is in the majority an emotional task - and as an artist, I source from my emotional foundations constantly, so I had to put the pencils down while I was busy doing "that thing".
And it's not something that you can do with others. It's not a time to get down and party, or rock out with the crew fulltime - fortunately, I've timed this so that there is one MASSIVE weekend of rock concert, shopping, friends and giggles, (the Metallica concert in Melbourne on the 21st Nov.) but beyond that, it is a time for sheer contemplation; I believe that whenever I'm about to embark on the next phase of a plan, the past needs to be ordered and the best parts chosen and saved, the worst parts learned from, and the trimmings and unnecessary bits get deleted. It's akin to cleaning out your desk when you're about to start a new project.
The difference is, it happens on the inside.
People talk about having issues, having baggage, and the greatest difference between those and a lifetime of experiences is how you're able to digest, assimilate and adapt what you have been through into a history, rather than dragging along a past. People like to believe that the trauma defines them, but they usually have as many delightful memories as they do bad - society just tells them where to focus. No one can be without the path that they've travelled - it's just as important as the road ahead. The greatest difference is perspective; is it a long and winding road, or just the same stretch of road over and over again? It's only a choice away.....and then it's a life.