I love this quote that a friend recently posted on Facebook. It captures how I’ve been feeling as I’ve circled back to my visual arts practice after many years of focusing on community-based theater. My visual work is much more personal--internal thoughts and feelings brought into the world as concrete objects, artifacts of process. And the results are much more about my individual creative vision than most of the performance work I’ve done over the last fifteen years.
Warhol’s quote also supports the realization I had relatively recently: that, regardless of whether the work I make is good or not, whether anyone else likes it or not, I HAVE to make it. I’m not sure why this realization took me so long, but I suspect it’s due to the fact that I unconsciously bought into certain beliefs about artists and artmaking--that if you’re not “producing,” you’re not an artist; that if you have to have a full time day job, you’re just not trying hard enough (or you’re simply not talented enough) to succeed. So I’ve told myself, over and over again, that if I’m not really making a living as an artist, that if I have long periods where I don’t make work, it means I’m not really an artist and should probably just turn my attention to something else.
But here’s the thing: I’m pretty miserable when circumstances prevent me from having the space to create. Hence the realization that the point is to “just get it done,” whatever that is--even a quick sketch or snippet of writing. Because my current definition of an artist is someone who is compelled to make art--and that is definitely me. So I’m grateful to at least have figured that out. And while others are deciding what they think of it, I’m making even more art.
There are several books that have inspired me on my path, in various ways:
- Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
- The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
- A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf