The other side is not quite reached yet, but I have managed a considerable shift in mindset: Showing up and doing the work is the piece of advice most given when it comes to success/improvement/advancement in almost any activity, yet it is the hardest to do. In my case, as soon as I made the decision to commit, adding public witnesses- great gratitude goes to the NaNoWriMo community who started my ball rolling-, this elusive attitude took root in my commitment-phobic, neurotic brain and silenced all that psycho babble which kept me immobilized and procrastinating in the past. Don’t ask me to analyze how and why this happened, I’m still somewhat afraid to jinx the ease and carefree swagger with which I show up every day to do the work…inspiration not a necessary ingredient, letting go very much so.
The output you see here might not seem like a big deal, quantity or quality wise, but believe me my spirit is a party of luminous, exploding fireworks right now. After years of analysis paralysis it feels like a spell has been lifted and all I can think of is that I was finally sick of struggling!
Now why doesn’t the art community have a cool challenge like NaNoWriMo? The BBF (best boyfriend forever), alternating between elation and anxiety about his first ever NaNo, starting Tuesday, got me evaluating my work modus operandi: Time in The studio somehow always lands up last on the list, and I have plenty of very good justifications for this! Oh yessir, no-one could fault me for being handicapped by the Great Three- lack of time, energy, and finances. Watertight alibi. Yet something about the excited collective spirit and the supportive vibe among the writing community I’m witnessing second-hand has infected my busy, mostly art-free little world. What the heck, if you guys can, so can I! And yes, I know that writing about 1700 words on a daily basis is probably much more challenging than getting down some drawing or painting , but relativity is a wonderful thing. If I manage to match this schedule I will be achieving the impossible…so here’s the deal: For every daily quota of words I’ll equal at least one drawing or painting, editing optional 😉 .From the first of November to the thirtieth of November. Any artists out there care to join, bring it on! Any writers need visual inspiration, feel free to browse my hopefully prolific output!
“Lüderitz Jetty” Oil on board copyright Silke Berens
Imke and I theoretically live in the same city, although she’s recently forsaken sunshine and wide open spaces to spend time in Berlin, following her heart and her art 😉
I miss having her around to talk shop and bemoan the struggles encountered in our local art scene. Imke makes a mean vegetarian chilli, and is the most even-tempered artist I know. I suspect this trait has got her further in her career than a lot of the more moody and outrageous artists out there, and boy those still waters do paint some dark depths!
She’s a very talented artist who’s had a lot of success already, and she’s only getting better and going bigger. A gallery in Berlin will be hosting her next exhibition in 2012. Yay!
Check out her site: imkerust.com
All artwork by Imke Rust
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work and the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will, through work, bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never dream up if you were just sitting around looking for a great art idea. And that a belief in that the process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel everyday. Today you know what you will do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday and tomorrow you are going to do what you did today and at least for a certain period of time if you can just work to hang in there, you will get somewhere.”
Last week, after having watched the stirring BBC documentary on Picasso’s Guernica, one of my more intense young men in the Visual Articulation and Drawing course at university (UNAM) had a seeming epiphany. Eyes all fiery with indignation at the injustices committed by man against man (and woman and child), he voiced his determination to create Art with a Purpose. But a few minutes into the discussion about art, politics and Modernism, he visibly faltered in his resolve, tripped up by the concept of Beauty: How do I know something is beautiful? And can I make something that is both beautiful, and has the power to change people’s perceptions? How can people like and buy art that I consider bad?
To fully appreciate this situation, you must know that most of the students in this Visual Arts department come from a dysfunctional third world schooling system, and struggle to write and speak more than a pretty basic English. How they gain admittance to a tertiary educational institution is a mystery to me. But hey, this is Africa. We wing it mostly, we’re dismally short on good museums and galleries, and when kids show determination and a willingness to work, we are excited and grateful.
Well, it got interesting. For a generation whose role models are Rihanna (yes, the US of A is ever present even in deepest Africa), Kanye West, and hip hop culture, it’s a stretch of the imagination to appreciate, let alone understand, the twists and turns of art history. And when we get to Picasso’s mangled forms, they find it hard to reconcile their standardized cultural tastes with such aberration. Yet Guernica managed to get under some skins, especially since the history of Namibia and South Africa is not short of injustices of many kinds…
Eventually we agreed that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet truly great art transcends subjective taste and achieves value beyond aesthetic achievement. I’ll spare you the long of it, as it’s a discussion I believe that can last a lifetime. What excites me is that this young student- hopefully multiples of him or her- cannot now go back to his previous views on the world and art, and more specifically, the purpose of his art. He must move forward from this point, and I’m proud and moved that I was around when he woke up.
What is your take on this topic? All comments welcome…
I’ll keep you posted on the young revolutionary’s progress 😉
Info about Guernica: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_(painting)