When I work, I get extremely annoyed if the result is passive, just kind of sitting there, not getting into it, timid and meek, trying to please. Even a painting of an apple sitting on a bench should have attitude.
It's always been my feeling that art should intimidate, one way or another - a work of art inspires awe, curiosity, it stirs up through the body - it should grab you by the intestines and tie them in knots, take your breath away. Y'know, gutsy. Otherwise I feel like I'm just decorating the place.
Things have been like that for a while, feeling like I'm just going through the motions. There is little at the moment in the emotional environment that is more that just a siege mentality - people locked up in their boxes, choking on fear, and desperate to have people to panic with them.
There's nothing gutsy about that.
There's nothing daring or significant or strange about any of it - and once again, it comes off as passive, decorative - just taking up space.
I hate it. I loathe it with every fibre of my being, feeling infected and contaminated by that which is commonplace being worshipped in ignorance and apathy. I despise it. There's no sense of being, no enigma, no mystery, and I am left with that faint distaste and contempt for what is, in all other manners and reason, ordinary life.
I've been staring at a drawing I did last week; hateful thing, an example of that galling ordinariness, the total lack of commitment, the complete absence of life - and I know I'm deliberately taunting myself for having allowed this expression of nothingness to exist. She is, and that's about all she is, with flowers in her hair, a small wreathing of pearls, and a couple of jewelled turtles - and it's all very pretty.
And sickening. Like saccharine.
I go through my archival folders to be greeted by these strange, luminous beings, with their odd faces and limbs, their abundance of inner wilderness, writhing in a mire of energetic incompletion, locked in a state of eternal impermanence - and my gut twists in their ecstasy, their wholeness at every stage, their enigmatic countenances, hands outstretched, hands gripped tight.
The myths, with their wings and fangs, their claws and bulbous eyes, full of false innocence, and burning with confrontation; the wraiths and the goddesses, content to wander the universe as mists and vapour, inherently ethereal and simultaneously corporeal, as they walk between worlds; the lovers and the warriors, seemingly vibrating with passion and power, alive and humming on the page, filled with anticipation.
I follow these wandering visions, and then return to the woman with the flowers in her hair, and know that something deeply fundamental at the core of my being is silent. Quiet. Passive.
And then like a flash from the hand of a god, I understood why. Why I was disconnected from that magical element that must be surrendered to each and every work like an offering to the divine in every stroke.
Something so vital has no words. It's not psychological, it's visceral, and cannot be described.
But every artist who has bled gallons for a bittersweet victory over their own vision, that passage through the soul into manifestation, knows what I'm talking about, knows how it burns from the inside, clamouring to be administered to the work, that it may scream itself into existence.
For that is art. Not passive, not pleasing, not nodding to the audience - It is ripping holes in reality, and spawning life, over and over again.
Perhaps that is why I have such great admiration for those that collect my work - they are the punks, the rebels, the ones who reach for stars, and bathe in energy, who build and grow things, who initiate life, and seek its secrets. They also live for that kind of power.