still artless and pondering the world

I know the not making art thing happens to everyone. And we all have our reasons, excuses and roadblocks. I claim my primary reason for not being able to make art is because I don't have any alone time. I'm not talking seven hours in a day alone time, I'm talking weeks alone. Concentrated time to get lost in my self and creative process. I had that a lot last year but this year I haven't gotten more than a few days completely alone.

Then there is the other newer reason I think I am not making art and actually that can be broken down into even more reasons. I think if I had a person/place 'out there' that was interested and encouraging me towards something that would help. As it is my relationship with the gallery is one of 'what are you working on now' but only if I go there and make a nuisance of myself. I guess I'm wondering if one of us is supposed to expand that dialogue to a project or idea for the future. Maybe that isn't the place or it isn't the time. Tod (my roommate) just watched a documentary about Neil Young and he relayed to me that Neil said (about his process) you can't make music for no one. You have to have an audience. A reason. I think I am beginning to feel that way about art. At first it was all about me. I made it for me 100%. Then I get into a few shows and galleries and realize there is a flow to all of that but it has come to a point where I ask myself is this it? Do I just keep making one piece after another and hope they take it? Who am I making art for? Do I have a vision or a goal?

My other reasons are I feel I have come to a head with the mediums I'm working with. I've said it before, I am yearning for something else to unfold, happen....I get bored easily and I feel I just can't keep doing the same thing over and over. Which leads to needing more tools other than my very primitive drills and saws. More materials....more more more. More space, more time, more money.

Then there is the more more more thing. Yesterday I watched 60 minutes and after just 10 minutes of watching the horrors of genocide still going on in Darfur I just get washed anew with disgust for humanity and the ridiculousness of me making art. It seems very self absorbed and petty in comparison to so many other aspects of life. And yet I know that physically and mentally I am too screwed up to handle handing myself over to sub human living conditions to help someone else out. I know I am supposed to do what I can do in life. I know I need to make art and make a living to keep sane, better I sell the same mixed media over and over than clean a motel room right? At this point I'm not so sure. I struggle constantly with consumerism and the endless barrage of shit that people buy to fill up the void within.

I just wish something would pop and release. Every day I wake up and feel lost with no idea what to do. Trying not to spend money so I do nothing. I can only hike/walk so much. I can only read so much. I'm bored to death with going to Stowe or Burlington. I go in and look at my art supplies and feel nothing except the urge to take it all to the dump. It is madness. And yet in the scheme of things it has only been a few months. Maybe it is normal for an artist to take time away from pumping out art. Maybe this is nothing cataclysmic. I don't really have anyone to look to for answers as I've not heard other artists talk about this even though I know they go through it. I can't be the only one who questions why make more ~ can I?

At the risk of sounding like an awful person, I will share that there are moments I wonder should I not try to reach out and find a way to help others instead of living for myself. I have tried that in the past and it usually overwhelms me. I have a love/hate relationship with humanity. I feel I care deeply for and respect the living, yet I feel a certain disgust for the craziness of it all. I've done what I think is a valid part. I haven't reproduced. I'm not putting more people on the planet. I don't live the typically wasteful life in terms of resources (I could do better but until I can afford to buy land and live off the grid I'm staying put). I can see forgotten youth on the streets, I can know about the gangs and urban hell people experience and I just feel hugely conflicted. I can't even take care of myself just yet. Twenty odd years of giving massage felt like an emptying of everything I had to give, I'm tired of giving. Tired of taking. Tired of this existential crisis! (I wonder too if one ever gets over being brought up a Catholic, I sure hope so)


BlueJude said...

WOW I can so relate! Interesting what Neil had to say, but I believe as Visual Artists we create because we have to. It's what we do. So in that regard...perhaps no audience is necccessary. However, I guess you do need some feedback from viewers as your art obviously has something to express. Hmmm...interesting food for thought. OH and Love the piggy thingy!

sarala said...

Catholics I know say one never does get over it. Being Jewish seems pretty similar.
You minimize the value of art. We all need things that bring joy and beauty into the world for no other reason than just being. Nature does a great job of delighting our eyes and other senses but human art has its very important place. I need to know that there are people out there creating art, literature and music. You create art for people like me as well as for yourself. Your blog, too, is a form of art; writing about the process of creation and the doubts it creates.
I hope you find a way to increase the dollars flowing in but they are not a measure of worth!

self taught artist said...

sarala thank you
i should copy this and put it on the wall and stare at it until i GET IT
why do I not get that art is important? why is it? why????

CoffeeBlog said...

i wasn't even raised catholic, but i wonder, too. art is a living thing and i think every living thing has cycles. god, it was good to sit and read your blog again!

Tori said...

Wow! I love what you write in the last paragraph here. I can really relate to this struggle. I imagine many people can. I really applaud and respect your honesty.

Bob Johnson said...

Your not alone in a lot of these feelings. Thanks for sharing. I feel the same way about my music as you do your art, sometimes you just don't feel like it, I get tired of the whole game of life and materialism, but I move on and wait for the next time I feel good.

kate said...

I'm 50 and have trying getting over being a Catholic for decades. I don't know if it ever happens, but I am much better at ignoring or at least distracting myself from it. Rebelling didn't work either.

With your art, maybe you need to put it away for awhile. There's nothing worse than not feeling like doing it and disliking it. Time away sometimes helps.

Guilt is a powerful thing, isn't it? You don't owe anyone a thing ... try and do things that make you happy and not worry about the larger world beyond you for a spell.