Friday, August 17, 2012

Art, Brooding and Other Abberations

So what exactly made me abandon art ? Maybe I dropped off a bit so I could just live. Being secluded in a studio every day can feel a bit reclusive over time. Whatever your art is, it kind of takes over. Television, Target, crock pot parties - whatever regular people do with their time - including going out among other humans - isn't really part of your life. You just create; and you understand, if not even consciously, that it is a process of coming at it every day - like a novelist sits at their computer or notebook every day without question. Like drinking coffee. You just do it in the morning, without contemplation or a second thought.

Painting is very much a retreat from the world. I enjoyed it immensely. Many nights I stood, deliberated, ruminated, got messy and covered with paint, had discoveries and ah-ha moments, got frustrated, got bored, got elated - but invariably, stuff happened. On one hand, there was always the impromptu studio-mate conversation that could be sought out. Hanging out in the studio is the best, even if you don't get any work done. It is part of the process: get to the studio, take out paint, goof off, take out drawings, spread everything out and think about which piece you want to work on.  On the other hand, it got lonely.  I had a studio at 11 Pearl Street in Dorchester, Massachusetts (part of the city of Boston) when I was twenty years old.  Pearl Street was an old building behind a house in the Savin Hill area that was once horse stables and later, probably a speak-easy.  It then evolved into studios, divided to house some twenty-plus artists.  You could always go downstairs, across the hallway, up another flight and find another artist milling around their studio to share a quick chat or smoke with.  It was cool.

I loved it. I loved the smell of paint, turpentine, the tools, the brushes, the drawing and problem solving. The mess you make is fantastic, and you can play jazz or have sheer quiet.  Often my paintings were, unbeknownst to me, clairvoyant.  After years passed, I would revisit a painting and realize what it meant.  I made discoveries about myself that I would not have arrived at, had I not searched.  I reveled at the ability to visually complete a thought i.e. finish a painting.  There is no satisfaction like it.

But painting is something I have since abandoned. I still work occasionally but without all of the ferocity and momentum that I used to. I think I grew frustrated because most painters do not achieve any kind of serious success until later in life, if ever. And by success, I mean at least being represented by a gallery, having some press and maybe a solo exhibition. Also, it's a lot of time alone in the studio. I think it is easy to lose perspective when your blood, sweat and tears are going into what you love to do, but no one seems to notice or care. Sometimes at openings, people talk among themselves with wine in hand and their backs to the art. It is exciting to exhibit, and sometimes I sold work and people told me they liked it, but in the end I was left disconcerted. I’ve been having trouble getting back into it. It feels like I’m waiting for inspiration. That you can’t plan. I have an internal conflict going on about it; I want to work really bad, but I just don’t start. Perhaps it’s a zen problem. I may need to just stop waiting for inspiration and just start. I know it can be true that sometimes you just do something and you don’t know why, and later on, the reason becomes apparent. Well, at least that sounds right. Maybe I’ll give that a shot and figure out the what or why, later.

[I wrote this blog a year ago and never posted it. So I'm posting it now; oh, and I got a studio. It's in Fields Corner. It's brilliant. I will write another blog about it after I've been there a few months. It's good to spend time with other artists; and it's great to be making art. !!!! ] !!! yay !!!!!!