Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Scissor Sisters or What, Exactly, Are You Trying to Do Here?

Sometime this past winter, I did a post and collage on how artists basically have to get through a lot of crap to get to the "good stuff." That's what's happening tonight.

I tend to only upload the things that I like and think turned out reasonably well and I hide away the work that I hate, even re-working canvasses, painting them over with gesso when they are too terrible. But I realized that I can't only learn from what's good. I also have to accept the "bad" stuff that I produce. I have to accept that I have nights that feel really productive and magical and in the groove and nights where I just want to throw everything out the window. When the images won't go together or everything I do to a piece of work only makes it worse.

The Scissor Sisters is that kind of piece. Too much, too many images fighting for attention, too many things going on. There's nothing cohesive about it--I was just gluing pieces on, gessoing over, using my pastels to try to do SOMETHING. That's why it doesn't work. I had nothing really to say. I wasn't able to dig into myself and nothing was really "speaking" to me tonight.

Darvin asked me to think about what I'm trying to do with my art, a question he asked himself recently about his writing. What is it that I'm trying to accomplish? An interesting question. . .

I started "arting" three years ago during the divorce. A way to deal with really raw feelings that were coming up in therapy and as a supplement to the journal I began to keep. I probably would have stopped if it weren't for Darvin who validated my need to express myself and gave me a model for what it is to have art as a part of your life. At that point I began to see myself as an artist and accepted that maybe I had something to say.

I create art for many reasons at different times. Sometimes it's because I need to deal with something that's eating at me and the only way I can get to it is visually. Sometimes I do it because it calms me, gives my hands and brain something to do and helps me enter into a sort of Zen mode where I can really feel things I don't normally let myself feel. I like the discovery process that seems to be so much of what I create--not so much a deliberate "I want to do X," kind of thing as much as a "let's see what I can uncover as I play around with these colors and images and materials." Sometimes I create art because I DO have something to say. This is particularly true when I work on pieces related to issues of power and sex, issues that I feel least equipped to write about and that I feel most deeply.

Mostly I create art because I want to discover who I am. Through writing and collage, I've found more of ME than in anything else I've done. My day job is an expression of myself, but only in the most right-brained ways. Art lets me meet other pieces of me that I barely know or that I only dimly see through the roles I'm forced to play.

Art is a way to say "I'm here and this is who I am," a way to explore the things that most concern and interest me. My best stuff is the work that says something about me in all my imperfect glory. In that sense, I suppose I should accept The Scissor Sisters as being a success. It represents the chaotic me, the one that flies by the seat of her pants, glueing and painting with no real sense of purpose or design. Sometimes I get clarity in that process and sometimes I don't. But those are still pieces of me and still clues to who I am. So there you go--The Scissor Sisters: A Successful Failure.  Posted by Picasa

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