Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why am I an artist? Why do I love art?

When I graduated last June I decided to sit down and orient myself, really figure out what I was doing and why. I highly recommend that everyone do this once in a while. I asked myself some questions, and then tried to answer them.

Some questions I asked were: Who am I? Why am I an artist? Who is my art for? What am I trying to accomplish with my art-making?

I'll spare you from my lengthy rambling answers, but I will share a few excepts.

Why am I an artist?

I am an artists because I have to be. I have to make things. It’s just what I do, what I think, what I enjoy, what I’m good at, what makes me feel happy and accomplished. I like to make a thing that was not there before and that will spend some time in existence, to see and think about it, and relate to it, and experience it in the space around me. That thing’s existence is a physical embodiment of my thought and intuitive problem solving and effort and time. It is a newborn child of my own. I made it but it is itself, not me but yet it is me. I put myself into it and (hopefully) breathed its own life into it. I guess it’s like being God, a creator, and Mother, the portal of life. It is primal and spiritual, and emotional, and intellectual, and physical, and so necessary like an unstoppable biological function. It is like eating or breathing... Really, sometimes it’s sweet and beautiful, sometimes it’s painful and difficult, and sometimes it’s a release and a relief.

What kind of artist am I? What do I want to do with art?

I am interested in the past and my contemporaries, but I am not interested in (purposefully) making art that is in conversation with those things. My art is mainly abstract because it is intuitive, and it’s really not about anything other than the magic of light, form, imaginary space, being a place to play in, to move in, to relax in, to explore and fine new things in, and to let line and shape simply be what they are. I don’t set out to create an illusion of something. I want to really make something. It is what it is, and if it creates some illusion, that may just be part of its nature.

I am completely entertained by the variety, individuality, and (often) the weirdness of the things that artists are compelled to create. I love it when I look at someone’s body of work, or a line of thought, and think “wow, that gal was really obsessed with those crazy little shapes” or “what the heck got into him there?” I want to tease all of those compulsions within myself and see what they look like when they take a physical form. I want to make things until like living creatures, the art evolves and changes, drifts and shifts, and see where it goes. I want to poke and prod and explore and discover, follow inclinations, and see what leads to what.

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