your real expression

i would love it if i got your true feelings about how you deal with making stuff and selling stuff. i ask because i realize one of my own biggest blocks as a human being, is feeling worthy.  many of you already know i was a massage therapist for about 20 years and i 'thought' i was being useful.  it wasn't until the last few years that i was in so much pain from giving others 'pleasure and healing' that i decided i had to quit.  i also started feeling like it wasn't really doing much for people.  every week i would see the same people and while they loved the massage and claimed it got them thru the next week or month or whatever, many of them still had pain and problems. stress.  life....kept filling them up.  so i started feeling my catholic guilt crap of i'm just taking their money.  yea i'm fucked up that way and i'm not even a catholic anymore

so.  then i find art.  and you all know that i have my claim that art is keeping me sane.  bottom line for whatever reason it is what i love doing.  and when i am actually making art, or THINGS or whatever it is that i do....i am really hitting that sweet spot with being in the now and doing what i feel i'm supposed to be doing.
where i tend to get fucked is when i start thinking about the stuff i'm putting out into the world.  yes its recycled for the most part, yes i'm taking 'trash' and making something....but i get stuck with this whole life guilt trip about needing to be 'useful' or 'doing' something for others.  i dont want to volunteer...i dont want to save the planet, i want to make art but i keep getting in my own way by feeling guilty that i'm just making stuff that no one needs. 

let me say:  i am a minimalist.  i used to have it all...when i made good money and i loved to shop and find unique things and fill my rented 3 bedroom home with just cool shit and i enjoyed it.  and something happened to me one day and i realized i felt trapped by it all and that it was meaningless [to me].  so what i need to do, and i know no one else can come up with the solution but me, but i was hoping that by hearing your thoughts maybe it would sink in a bit more.  .....what i need to do is realize somehow that just because i personally hate having stuff around...that others dont.  how do i stop feeling like i'm doing something superfluous?  that no one needs what i do.  that i'm part of the problem...consumerism.  STUFF.  do you know what i mean?  i realize art is IT for me. it really is...but until i can come to some peace about the fact i make things that i must sell in order to live, and that people will be spending money on things that i deem unnecessary and useless...by dint of ME not wanting stuff around blah blah blah. its a circle/cycle that just makes my head spin but it is really what is standing in my way i think of moving on.  HELP!!!!!!


Kim Hambric said...

Sorry, can't help you out here. I need to go and think about my own stuff.

Perhaps the so-called meaningless stuff of life is the reason for living. Art, music, love. None of these are necessary for life on earth. What is necessary? Food, sex (for procreation only, right?), sleep. Absolutely nothing else is vital,right? Right? Then what the hell is the point of living? Why should we even remain here on the face of the earth? I'll tell you why? Love, art, music, etc.

I think I've helped myself out here. Not sure what I did for you.

paula said...

good point...i think i'm stuck with feeling how pointless life is. always have felt it is pointless..insanity..nothing means anything blah blah blah. but if nothing means anything it shouldn't matter what i do. i should just work at wal-mart. so obviously making art means something to me that my stupid brain wont just let me be with. thanks for your thoughts, glad you helped yourself;)

Kim Hambric said...

It does matter what you do -- to you. Hell, if nothing mattered to anybody, we'd all work at walmart (could that be possible?)! What we do should matter to ourselves. And our loved ones. Wouldn't the world be a crappier place if we all just worked at walmart, came home and fixed ourselves soup from a can, watched idiotic television and then went to bed only to get up the next day and do the same thing.

To live we must create. It doesn't have to be "art".

Blah blah blah

Anonymous said...

so a while back I actually thought about not making any more art because, well the world needs less stuff and I wasn't really sure I was adding anything good in the way of stuff-ness to the planet, so I thought, maybe I should just NOT. Now I rationalize my "art" production by telling myself I am making homes for neglected and forgotten unwanted stuff and since it goes on to a new life this is OK. I think you could try this rationalization, after all what you make is far more art like than what I make. And all I know is I am miserable when I stop, so I try to use as little new stuff as possible and yeah... you know I live this pretty plush suburban life, ya know, 2 cars big house filled with (nice artful) stuff, but wow the psychic cost of it all. OK that was a really long not answer, sorry

Karen said...

can of worms....I am sure you just opened it! Having spent years keeping nothing more than what would fit into a backpack that I could carry I am now so happy to have a home full of stuff. Not overflowing but comfortable and loved stuff. I make art for me and am soooo happy I do not need to make a living from it! I wonder how/if that would change what I do? No art is ever meaningless..from conception to completion it is loved and cherished in one way or another. For some it is the process that matters most for some it is the finished piece and for some it may be something all together different!But meaningless? Never. No, not ever.

ArtPropelled said...

Food for thought and interesting comments too. So many of your posts make me stare into space, pondering and questioning myself.

Paula I'm sure there are times when you create something that blows you away .... fills you with awe? Something you would love to keep because it gives you a sense of strength or hope or serenity or pride or whatever. When looking at some of my carvings I remember the peace I felt while creating it. That sense of peace is the main reason I create art, though making a living from it allows me to spend more time doing what I love to do. I can't imagine that a piece of art is useless especially if it moves one in some way or makes one feel happy while creating it. I think if you accumulate art that is not selling it is worthy because of the learning process. If you think about it you learn something with every piece that you make.... Knowledge that you take with you to your next artwork. Nothing is wasted. If it heals you to make art you are rescuing yourself.

paula said...

well deb i dont think it should matter how one lives. it's killing the judge [in the head] that needs to happen. there shouldn't be a psychic cost and one should not have to rationalize anything if one is healthy enough. which i aint [yet]

karen, i had so much to say about this i just deleted it all twice because it did open up a can of worms :)

to me robyn...art sitting around wrapped up unseen is wasted. if you cannot afford to keep the space to store it...even if you can if it is hidden and not distributed it isn't a complete cycle. i get what you are saying but all art has a life of its own and must be lived. i'm usually blown away by everything i make, even the crap. i am amazed i am doing what i am doing. but i dont covet it and need to keep it...i prefer it and me to move on. i really dont have a desire to keep things around me. i totally agree with you: Nothing is wasted. If it heals you to make art you are rescuing yourself. GOOD ONE :)

cobaltika said...

i didn't get to answer this the other day, but now i will try. i don't know if i have any suggestions about avoiding the feelings of pointlessness or waste, i guess that is just a thing you have to plod through, if it is necessary for you to Make Stuff in your life. which i know it is for you - and for me, too. so i will just share my thoughts.

i am not even showing the stuff i am working on lately - it's not the little things i did for etsy - instead it is POINTLESS CRAP, i must say! i don't think it has any market value, i just feel compelled to glue scraps of paper to books and canvas in a most obsessive way. hardly decorative. certainly not functional. but it gives me great pleasure, especially as i am trying to use up lots of hoarded ephemera before moving and putting most of my stuff into storage. maybe it will turn into something, but maybe not, but i HAVE to do it and it feels good. keeps me sane right now.

so if you are using up stuff, and it feels good to make it, i say proceed. do you ever think about opening up your space to the public for sales, sort of like an opening party? then you wouldn't have to move it around or ship it. and sometimes you just have to let it go ... i've had pieces that i didn't want to sell for practically nothing, or keep stored, and have had "releasing parties" - to which only i was invited. i cut things up, or repaint them black or blue, then toss them in the dumpster. i know that's kind of weird. this is so rambly! sorry!

paula said...

i love hearing you are doing that obsessive gluing stuff :) and that is a wonderful idea which i have entertained...opening up my loft to people. thing is, i dont know anyone with money ...seriously broke people that i know and again, this town is like some deserted wild west town were it not for prison guards and students. i do live on the downtown square area and when they have art fair or quilt stuff i might put a sign up. not sure how much i like the thought of strangers waltzing in...nor do i have much wall space to hang stuff (landlord rules). everything is all stuffed in bubble wrap and boxes and sometimes i think I CANNOT UNPACK AND PACK THESE ONE MORE TIME. but yes...i am already selling for little as i can and mostly i want just to get rid of the photo works. those cost me a good penny to make and i would love to at least make some profit on them. thank you for sharing and i can't wait for you to move to texas ;)