help me understand

Last night Sundance channel had this documentary on. I believe it was made in '07 so it was doubly interesting to hear what people were saying well over a year ago in regards to the economy and how everything may or may not play out in the near future. I wasn't able to give this my full attention as I was running around doing things with headphones on, listening more than watching, but I found myself coming back to a thought or a feeling that seems to be appearing more and more.

Before I get into that, I also want to say I later watched The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Yes ladies and gentlemen I occasionally watch vapid television. I have a hard time stomaching this show but I watch it out of a repulsed fascination. I almost liken these housewife shows to 'know the enemy' sort of mindset; that and sometimes I need a diversion and it's cheaper than going out and wasting money on something I don't need. The New York and California Housewives I also watched. I'm going through some sort of transformation whereby I'm attempting to observe/be aware of the reality (for as much as one can because after all reality is always skewed by your own warped vision) of different cultures, classes, and countries. I'm just now starting to comprehend political speak and nuances. I'm just now starting to retain and understand documentaries about political leaders past and present as well as what has happened in other countries. It is ALOT to comprehend. I retained nothing from grade school nor learned a thing about anything in high school. I'm clueless about more than I should admit in public. I have to say for as egregious as reality shows are, for cultural and sociological ignoramuses such as myself, if you are open to learning you will get something out of it. Then you can move on. Believe it or not when I watched Dr. Drew's new celebrity rehab last week and Rodney King was one of the patients it sparked a discussion with tod about the riots and I realized there were things I didn't know that I should know. I digress. Back to the housewives....I'm bothered by so much of what I see in this show and it challenges me to find some compassion for these ladies. Each city so far has had women that I find truly vapid and sad even though they are intelligent, their consumption sickens me. Underneath it all I realize why they are probably prone to spend an inordinate amount of time on their hair, make-up and dress (this season is particularly reprehensible in this area). God knows I'm at the complete opposite of that pole, I had my 'season' in my youth where I was completely absorbed in how I looked and it pains me to think of the time, money and energy spent on a dying outer shell that has nothing to do with who I am inside. The bigger the hair, the bigger the boobs, the thicker the make-up and the bigger the diamond just shows how far off track you are with your true being.

What do these two shows have to do with each other? Why am I talking about this stuff? Because as I am aware of what is going on out there I then look at myself and have a conflict. When I was a massage therapist I gave to others. True, they paid me but I was a servant of sorts and felt I was contributing to the lives of others. That chapter is closed forever, my body just can't keep doing that. Now I make art. When I got into massage it truly changed my life even though I still had alcohol issues it's not like I had the DT's if I didn't drink, I wasn't drunk every night and would go weeks without getting obliterated. I went through enormous changes during those years but never quite connected with my SELF.

When I got into art the connection started happening. Is still happening. But I feel this conflict about what am I doing for anyone else? I'm still not there yet ya know? I'm not in a place of financial stability, I'm not really even yet in a place where I can do much for anyone but myself and Tod. I know that in order to be of real use to anyone you have to take care of yourself first. I also, quite honestly for reasons I'm not able to articulate, don't believe that most charity work is all it is cracked up to be. (that's another post that probably doesn't belong on this blog) So, as I go deeper into art, as the excitement and joy of working on my various projects strengthens, I also am aware of how things are happening and happening fast and I want to be a part of it but don't yet know how, am not yet ready. It takes a lot of time alone to make art. It takes a lot of energy. I know I am not making any obvious statement with my work, yes I'm attracted to working with discarded 'junk' and reusing things but I'm not sure I ever will intentionally be that kind of artist ~ therein lies the conflict. When I do art just to do art I am happy. When I look at it and wonder how I am contributing to the world via my art I feel a little unsure of myself. Is it enough to be an artist? If you aren't making art that symbolizes some socio political happening is it valuable in any real way? I'm seriously interested in knowing how you artists, non-artists feel about art that is just art and not some monument or other sort of grand gesture/statement.

That documentary 'Escape from Suburbia' is hopeful and valuable. It stimulated something in me. Just as the Garbage Warrior did when I watched it this summer. I really see myself living in a sustainable SMALL home. I would love to have a few cows or goats to milk, raise some chickens and grow food and be a part of a community that sustains you so you don't need to drive 30 mi. to go to a box city to buy stuff. If you can't get what you need from your immediate area you don't need it, or just order it online. This need to have more and more space and shit is suffocating. I feel sad when I hear the news about car companies going out of business but a bigger part of me thinks do we really need new cars EVERY YEAR LIKE CLOCKWORK? Can't we start using less manufactured items and relying more on the communities' individual skills and resources to build, make and sustain our needs? It is truly bizarre to me how the entire world revolves around money. It is difficult for me to sort out how else things could operate if money were no longer the GOD. If power were no longer the object of desire. It baffles me that anyone would want to foist their religion or politics on another. I understand that people need to be in clusters of some sort, the world is too big to just have everyone running around with their own ideologies, but why kill someone because they aren't like YOU? Again, more confusion about where I belong, how I can be a part of something bigger than myself and still be an individual. I don't want to live in a vegetarian or religious cult like community. I don't want to eat in a communal kitchen. But I do want to support a lifestyle that supports individuals who are conscientious and eager to live with less material possessions and more knowledge and know how.

I also need to know that it is okay for me to make art. I need help understanding the value in it. I need to hear what you think.


AnitaNH said...

"It takes a lot of time alone to make art" is the statement you made that prompted me to comment. Thank you. Remembering this will help me to stop thinking of myself as a self-centered, anti-social loner! I've been reading for a week or two and I love what you are saying and how you say it. You have even motivated me to start my own blogspot.

self taught artist said...

wow anita, thank you. you made me cry ~ and congrats on a blog, you will have fun!!!! Thanks for letting me know you're out there.
(ps are you getting snow? we've had non-stop snow since last night!!!!)

AnitaNH said...

Yes! I just went out to get the mail and it is snowing here... our first snow. And Art in America (and no bills)in the mailbox!

Beverly Kaye Gallery said...

After reading these few addtitons to you blog, I think you should reconsider that book you were writing.
As for the Housewives program, I think of Atlanta as a very classy Arts minded city, with priorities in place. This program seems to ignore that aspect of the town. It's reality TV, but it's someone elses reality.

self taught artist said...

great point beverly, I know nothing about atlanta and the show has skewed my view of it.
as for writing...not sure I need all the past turpitude in my face right now, but i like the idea of writing about my journey when i left Arizona and was out there in my tent shivering with fear and uncertainty.

Prica said...

what a beautiful post this is! I love it a lot!!
I'm eager myself to do something about living suffocated!

self taught artist said...

thx prica, i'm betting you will do it based on your blog and your energy!