/Theories in Art and Education
For me, the process of art making can frequently mirror patterns in our lives.
As you evolve and grow, so does your art.
And, as obvious as that statement is, it honestly never really occurred to me that my art would be affected by events in my life. Naivety at its best.
In the past, art and my journeys through life seemed to always start out with an idealized visualization of what I wanted to accomplish. For me, the highest accomplishment attainable was success. Whether it be financial or notoriety, it had to be completed. I spent countless hours planning for the future, and strategizing. Once I set a goal, nothing could stop me from achieving it. I lived this way obsessively in art and in life for a long time; everything became formulaic for success as I completed goal after goal after goal. I was a machine. As anyone would have expected (except for me), I burned out. Flames high, violent, and crashing. I realized that my life was out of balance and that this insatiable drive was blinding me from all that life really had to offer.
Once I discovered this out of control aspect of my life, I immediately stopped making art. Yes, I took a long leave of absence and it was absolutely terrifying. Not only was I now doubting myself, so were many people around me. It was awful. I knew that I needed to stop and I needed to figure out exactly what was causing this irrational behavior in my life and in my art making. Why did I NEED to be financially successful? Why did I HAVE to be well-known? What was the point? Big life questions that seemed desperately cliché.
After a year and a half of reflection and many long nights of despair, I realized that I had been living my life to please the people that I had valued the most but whom also did not value me unless I completed "A, B, and C". I was constantly trying to prove my worthiness, that I deserved to exist. Depressing. I am not going to lie, there were a few truly remarkable and supportive people in my life who pointed me in the right direction but I was too clouded to ever thank them. If they were to ever read this, I hope that they know that I am thankful and was, but just far too hurt and too focused on those people that did not deserve my time.
My art also reflected this behavior. I rarely made art for myself. I had a wonderful arsenal of tools, skills, and knowledge to make "good art". I had a mental formula for success but I was not feeling fulfilled. I made the decision to release myself from those toxic people who I had been made to prove my worthiness to and I set out to find the innate value within myself; to live for my own fulfillment. I was beginning to live what I had always taught to students who sought counsel from me. I found immense freedom and fear as I discovered that I could be myself. But who was I, who am I?
This is the journey that I am on now.
This newly found freedom allows me to live for my eulogy instead of my résumé. I have found more compassion to give to myself and to others. I now live for a different kind of success and fulfillment and that is why I am working towards creating a non-profit for children who live at or below the poverty line and who are at-risk. I hope to teach and empower others to follow their dreams, to be themselves, and to be more compassionate. To stand up against adversity, to find solace in knowing that everyone struggles through something, and that it is okay to lean on a friend. As an artist, I can make art that will sometimes be ugly, that may only be enjoyed by me. I do not live for undeserving people or the art gallery anymore and I am forever, a work in progress. I enjoy and explore many aspects of art and life and this collection of work demonstrates that.
I have found through this hard but essential lesson that it takes courage to identify and face the patterns in your life. In doing so, you will develop a deeper understanding of who you are as as person and an artist; it will enhance your creativity and your soul. I now fully understand that the journeys that we take in art and life that we take are just as, if not more important than the results that they yield. In each new journey that we take, we are also taking our learned experiences with us.
Thank you for reading about me and my thoughts. Please be sure to check out my social feeds for updates and new work!