Sink or Swim: Reflection on the Artistic Chasm
Happy New Year everyone!
The below prose was composed in 2017...I think. I revisit this writing every now and again, just to continue sitting with the idea. What with it being a new decade and it feeling like a new page, it felt like a good idea to officially publish this somewhere public. I'm so curious to hear your thoughts on this topic and how we work toward artistic fulfillment in the new roaring twenties.
Pursuing my art killed my art.
Growing up, I used to lock myself in my room for hours upon hours learning different songs, learning how to write my own music, learning how to feel so deeply that the only way to process was through something as divine as art. Creativity would seep into my skin and I would sweat it out onto the rest of my life. I was a steamroller of artistic momentum; some of which I took to college with me.
It didn’t take long before the flowers inside of me were bulldozed over and covered in cement. Rules and regulations shouldn’t apply to art. Yet there I was, having my art governed by other people who tell me that they know the “right” way for me to experience my creativity. Obviously my professors knew much more than I do about technique, history, and nearly everything else…except me. I was under the impression that I was supposed to be the supreme expert on the ever-accelerating rate of my dying soul flowers.
After enough subtle, unrecognizable soul derailment, I had reached a point where I would hear a symphony or see an astounding painting and think “What is the point? What is the actual point of any of this? Art isn’t feeding anyone, it doesn’t sustain life, it doesn’t dress a wound. So what is the point?"
Well the point, I’ve learned, is that there really isn’t a point. Art doesn’t provide you food, but it does feed your soul and nourish your mind. It may not sustain life, but it sustains hope and joy and connection. It may not dress a wound, but it has the altruistic power to heal.
I’ve gone down to the depths of artistic expression and found bodies, shipwrecks, and decay. It was at this low point; the lowest I have ever been with my art, that I fully realized the spectrum of expression in a human being. We have the capability to create the most beautiful, poignant things that touch the souls of other people and help us connect to one another. But these wouldn’t be as profoundly stunning without the dark chasm where about 90% of artistic expression hides. It is so hard to be confident in your creativity and I’m finding it easier and easier to don my wet-suit of cynicism and make the plunge. I don’t want to be a deep-sea diver anymore. I want to flourish again. I want to create again, without abandon or hesitation. Not totally sure yet how to get there. But I think I’m going to keep blogging until I figure it out.