Exhausted by Art
I’m exhausted from trying to be artistic – in my art studio past the comfort zone of bedtime – an already challenged time when reading or television always compete to keep my from much needed rest, but my art teacher, guru of sorts – a creative director and wizard of artistic transcendence – directed me to set up a designated space in my house allocated to art only, where paints, paper, brushes, glitter, glue, markers, magazines, gesso, and all manner of artsy material are arranged in baskets on the table, strewn across the guest bed, poke from under the guest bed in plastic containers. I am now officially obligated to create that illusive product – art. Art – that category of mystic and mythic proportions that cannot be defined, and continues to be the subject of argument, awe, fear, and reverence. I am now on permanent assignment to be creative, in tune with the right hemisphere of my brain, and on alert to notice all opportunities to move spirit into matter. I, who cannot draw a straight line or anything that remotely resembles subject matter, am suddenly required to produce the true and the beautiful. I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this spiritual assignment springing from the depths of my being and progressing under the guidance of my mentor.
It started out simply, when one day, two years ago, while I walked by the art gallery, a friend pulled me in to the art studio, and asked me to sit down and start decorating paper mask molds to be auctioned as an art gallery fund-raiser. I had not glued much since kindergarten, when I typically threw my own attempts at making flowers look like flowers across rooms. Yet while mask-making, it seemed he gluing and painting process became instantly addictive, and the right brainwave activity leading to suspension of time and space, had the profound effect of creating a yearning for a repeat experience of the out-of-the-box mode of operating, leading to a discussion with fully-credentialed- art-gallery-owner-and-art-instructor-par-excellence who recommended continuing art education at his gallery/studio on a regular basis to enliven that field where the creative so easily go, and, in some cases, never return. And now, just a few weeks into the exploration of this new terrain, with a few collages under my belt, and lots of time spent with Dick Blick, and a designated art studio on my premises, I am exhausted by the demands of the creative life and the expectations I have put upon myself to be “an artist.” There – I have finally uttered the A-word and now must suffer under the mantle of expectation, realization that I know nothing about art, and do not know anything about making it other than cutting out magazine pictures and pasting them on masonite. I am a fraud in a field where absolute truth and honesty are required for any modicum of success. And so, I often stay up past ten or eleven and sitting on a chair in front of the easel purchased on e-bay even before my decision to embark on formal but actually informal training, I stare at my board, gesso-ed and painted, with scraps of cut paper, faces of skulls, lipstick, words, lightly glued (still in process). I stare, worrying that I suck and that I am a wanna-be, and fuck the process only preachers who are adamant that product is not where it is at while they stick cool looking product on the pages of their books that claim process is the only thing that matters. And sometimes when in process, I feel that flow, that sugary rush of time suspended, and that light headed no-fly zone when I know that picture of the Goth girl is perfect for that spot directly underneath the orange torn paper in the right corner. I just know it and all is well.