Reflecting on art…and discovering something along the way

Reflecting on art…and discovering something along the way

I set out this year with quite different goals to previous years…

I want to produce less. I want to think more. I want more space. I want to produce better work. And by ‘better’ I mean from my own perspective, not anyone else’s.

It’s hard to change the way you think and act though. Habit makes it hard. The need to feel ‘busy’ makes it hard. Worrying about where you’re at in comparison to other people makes it hard (I’ve really had to wrestle with this one).

But I’ve stuck at it. By way of example, it’s now March and so far I’ve produced absolutely nothing. And I’m cool with that.

I’ve been reading more. Listening to more music. Looking at more stuff, although I’ve deliberately avoided checking out what other people similar to myself are up to. Taking active steps to stop comparing myself with others has felt so massively liberating…

Inspired by an interview with an artist that I admire, I’ve been asking myself questions:

  • What have I produced so far that I really like?
  • Why do I like it?
  • What have I produced so far that I don’t like?
  • Why don’t I like it?
  • What is it that fascinates me?

On the last point, one central thought keeps re-emerging. What fascinates me, somewhat strangely, is our inherent vulnerability. The fact that when you strip away our titles, job descriptions and over-inflated biographies, we’re all exactly the same. None of us really know what we’re doing, we’re all making it up as we go along, we’re all frightened of something…our inter-connectedness is the only thing we have that has any real value.

To me that’s an incredibly powerful thing to see and to feel in a piece of art, because it connects us at our most basic human level.

When I look at what I consider to be my better work so far, that’s what I see…a removal of the barrier between the artist and ourselves. A sense of artistry mixed with a sense of vulnerability. A sense of being human.

That is what interests me and what I’d like to explore more.

Maybe it’s just me, but I usually struggle to think with this clarity. I have to make the time and space to think like this. But when I do, it’s incredibly valuable…

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