23 December 2010

A Day in the Life of a Thousand Years.

My day starts late - around 4pm in the afternoon. I head to my cafe haunt, say hello to everyone, and set up my sketchbook to work. It's outside, on the street, where I can feel the world moving around me, and someone else makes the coffee. I put my headphones on with whatever music is the emotional theme I'm using for the work, and I get into it.

There's a shift from real time and space into the creative zone - while I'm working, I'm still semi-aware of my surroundings, but what I'm really looking for is when everything blends together, in focus, and I can feel myself in total tune with the artistic process.
Even with the music and the cars and the organized chaos of the town, there's a stillness to be found in the center of it all - that's where I want to be while I work, using the energy around me to gain that sense of layers; like moving in a whirlpool, but not being dragged down, just aware of the core experience and the vision, and what I'm looking to achieve with the art. Emotion, thought, imagination and sensory depth become one - everything has a clarity that becomes the central source of the artwork. Total creativity, invention and being. It's a magic moment, everything is simultaneous and I'm a thousand years away, a thousand miles away, and right here, all at once.
And then someone comes over to talk about the problems that they're having with their boyfriend's mother.

13 December 2010

Work That Waits

There's only one unfortunate consequence to having a massive imagination - you can't get it all down all at once and do it all justice in a day.

The greatest frustration that I have as an artist is the sense of responsibility that I feel towards the creation of my art - in that, some works only ever live as half-formed, unresolved dreams of a finished image that has yet to be.

With the studio overflowing with such moments of inspiration, (and some of them squalling incoherently for my attention as their god) I ask myself, how do I reconcile myself with this ever-growing civilization of vision and  characterization without going completely barmy over whether or not it is presented to the world in a state of completion and harmony? (Yes, everyone should have my problems....don't worry, I thank the gods every day that I don't live in a cardboard box.)

However, this is the priority of life in art - completion of the work, the final destination being realized and given form, having had life (blood, sweat, tears and possibly coffee) breathed into it, so that it is substance, and not just some colloquial gesture of consumerism devoid of feeling.

The beauty of it is that I get to return to these incomplete works with a different perspective over time - there is something significant in the employment of another emotional energy to art that began somewhere else, and is developed through something new and fresh (and shiny if I'm lucky!). I often discover an angle or avenue in the process that wasn't available to me at the time I started the work, which makes the completion of the artwork a whole other journey entirely. While critical distance is often denied me in these times, this prolonged developmental progress has not only the same effect, but a greater benefit - when the tools and technique are refined over time, there is something new to add to an old image.

What I really look for in a finished work is that essence that moves me, when I can look at one of my works, and say - now that's cool. My standard response for anything that hits a nerve or resonates with me personally. What it means is that the work, regardless of the fact that it's cartoonish or seriously surreal, has substance. My classical training aside, reviewing the masters was based on the fact that cameras didn't exist in their time. With the advent of technology, art had to go somewhere new and adventurous; for me personally, it meant taking away the realism, the ability to copy a photo, to get away from anything that wasn't directly from my mind and my hand - it can only be unique when it is interpreted entirely through me.

Which brings me back to my problem of a massive imagination......and only one hand.....*sigh*

03 December 2010

Real Things

Those on my FB pages will already know that my little girl had something of an injury in recent days; somehow, she hurt her paw/leg while hunting in the garden. It's been getting better with time and a lot of love, but talk about a metaphor for dealing with impatience, and wanting everything immediately -
Just as it was getting better, she decided that she could run about the place again, and now she's aggravated the injured leg and has set herself back again. Granted, we're talking about a dog here, a very intelligent dog, but a dog nevertheless. (Mind you, I've seen her out-think certain humans....*grin*).

What is it about the need for immediate gratification? Why is there such an emphasis on hurrry-up-and-have-everything-at-once, when life is so short, and we're supposed to stop and smell the flowers, and savour the moment, and appreciate life? People gulp down their food like they'll never eat again, in such enormous amounts, like they're saving up for some kind of famine....they rush through their day to hurry up and go sit on the couch.....They push forward at the checkout as if somehow, two extra inches forward into someone else's personal space will stop the register from running away..... There's this possession of fear and anxiety about missing out, being forgotten, that has nothing to do with fighting another animal for food or a warm cave, or even for the defence of the family, and yet it does. That particular biological fear has, in affluent countries, become somewhat redundant, and so it's being redirected to things like the 'right' car, the 'right' dvd player, the 'right' stuff and social station.
I watch people fight for acknowledgement, recognition in society....apparently they've done something to save the world, but they can't tell anyone what it is, they just want recognition for how deeply important and special they are, more than anyone else - I've never seen a sportscar save the world, but I'm young, I haven't seen everything. However, the new social trend to agonize over success and achievement and lifestyle seems to be paralyzing people into a new state of persistent impatience. I know that the world has always known fear - there's always something in the works that's going to blow us all to kingdom come, be it bows and arrows, the black plague, steel swords, little pieces of metal fired out of an iron pipe, or that new-fangled terror called the tank...People lose their minds over what they face, how they are dispossessed, in times of real trouble. Now they lose their minds over not having the right app for their iPhone, or not having a girlfriend that's re-programmable, or not being able to order a meal at a restaurant and have the right to totally re-design it.

Humanity's backbone has always been in the spirit of adventure; now it's a case of being so comfortable that a small red light blinking can destroy someone's blood pressure, that people can now find new heights of self-abuse and destruction through the indulgence of luxury and convenience - fast food, fast relationships, fast and faster cars, computers, phones, music players, and suddenly 30 seconds seems like a really really long time.
People treat each other like computers - hey, I pushed the button, why haven't you done what I wanted you to do? Better re-write your whole personality so you'll do what I want until I need the upgrade......??????

I took a month off work to discover what my bitch with humanity is. People around me crumble at the merest sign of confrontation, they take refuge in the absurd, they concern themselves with their fragility instead of working towards strengthening and support - they want everything now so that they can consume more, hoard more, and give less and less and less, leaning towards a mean-spirited state of being, where the ultimate status is one of sheer narcisscism - "What About Me?"
The mountains have been climbed, the oceans crossed, the moon walked on, yet we are still to bring water to the desert, feed the many and house the needy- and you're upset because I didn't write something you wanted to read. I didn't draw something you wanted to see. I didn't suddenly go 'bing' and provide you with the ultimate in state of the art, and then turn around and give you your entire agenda for the week while forecasting the weather. Sorry about that, I'll just nip off to the nearest human technician and get that new app installed shall I? And while I'm at it, I don't like the construction of your nose, so we'd better book you in for facial reconstruction so that you have an appearance that is acceptable to me, yes?

Cynical? Yes. Jaded? Could be. Older? Definitely. Hitting that age where I can look upon the world and remember how cool it was to wear neon socks and white shoes with a ra-ra skirt, and if it wasn't a Sony, it wasn't a Walkman. Going swimming with sharks, and canoeing in croc-infested waters, when the real hiking trails didn't have ropes and signs, when 'going camping' meant a sheet of plastic and a sleeping bag, when life was to be lived, not sanitized. I now face the generation gap, and I've been facing it with disdain, dismay and deep regret that Peter Garret gave up music and took on politics, that art no longer requires skill or quality, that a bag of jellybabies is the worst thing you can give a child,  that historians have yet to take over the world and remind people the mistakes that were made last time, that the Dalai Lama has a Twitter site, and there's no need to make pilgrimage to the sacred places on earth, because there's a live feed set up somewhere and you won't be deprived of your potato chips or your recliner with built-in massager. Don't start with the business of people who couldn't have that kind of access before - there are pensioners living in the dark in Australia because they can't afford the electricity bill, yet the Aussie government is handing out set top boxes and tvs so that everyone can have digital reception.

My conclusion? I can't save the world, not even one person at a time. I won't be saddled with the fear of the masses who believe that the sky is falling and fall prey to their insatiable appetites for champagne when they can't even share a loaf of bread with someone. I won't break my back over carrying the emotional grievances for people who have never known hunger, never lived in fear for their lives, never been beaten, never been lost in the dark. I'm not god. Gods are slaves. I'll do for others what they can't do for themselves - I shall live, and be grateful for what I have. With my dog.
At least her impatience is about real things like food and tummy rubs.....