It’s been the better part of three years since I have been able to really develop some momentum in my art-making. In those three years I have worked in the service of our family, caring for our fathers. Both are gone now and those responsibilities are past. It’s time to move into the new future of producing a new body of work, and of producing new types of work.
I am enjoying the blessings of various breakthroughs. I am enjoying a deeper, more profound focus; something that’s difficult for a global thinker. I am enjoying a closer, more meaning-filled walk with my Lord & Inspiration. It’s a time of being released to go make meaning in the middle of whatever is happening around me. It’s a time of realizing the hidden blessings of inspiration buried in the simplest acts of life.
I have discovered that I am deeply drawn to storytelling in Collage/Mixed Media. This visual vocabulary has been with me in several forms for sometime now, and I have only recently connected all the dots. I am no longer searching for my “how”. I am now free to discover my “what”, and that too has driven a number of wonderful breakthroughs.
The basis of all of my art-making over the years, has always been grounded in storytelling. The human enterprise is vast, and stories are to be found everywhere. In fact, it was storytelling which drew me to art-making in the first place. In the revisitation of those memories, I have come full circle.
As a kid in elementary school, an orphan living with my Aunt and Uncle, I was intensely engaged by the tiny, incredibly detailed world on the stage of a professional marionette troupe. Riveted to that little stage, I realized that I too could make worlds of my own choosing; I too could tell stories others might wish to escape into. In all of the art-making media in which I am trained, storytelling has been the connecting factor.
I have also reconnected with that little boy, of so long ago, in another important way. I am completely free to awaken that young, courageous, unlimited imagination. I am free to imagine foolish things again because survival is no longer an issue for me. I am free to wander through the cosmos seeking stories and interpreting, translating, and communicating them to others. There is nothing like adversity and challenge to give us struggles we wish to share as stories.
That is the alchemy of art which both Ellen Dissanayake and Julia Cameron write, each in their own way; that willingness to intercept life’s ups and downs, and to make some sense of them. Making meaning, interpreting the significance of an aspect of life; that’s what the artist does. It’s not that we have all the answers – most of the time we haven’t a clue even what we’re making. But we’re willing to listen to the work, to the materials, to the process, and from that intimacy is born a piece of art.
Ramping up, developing momentum, takes time. I’m finding it’s a little like a steam train as it begins to move. The chug, chug, chug of the engine begins slowly and then develops a regular rhythm. That rhythm picks up a steady pace as the engine, pulling its cars, develops momentum. I am finding my own daily rituals, and habits. I am finding that showing up everyday and making meaning, in some way, contributes to the works at hand, or is an investment in some piece in the future – nothing’s wasted.
It feels good to be moving again. It feels really good to be making again, and to have found a specific medium at which I can develop my skills by myself. Oh, I’m no hermit, I just mean that my art-making is both personal and portable. It no longer disappears into memory when the projector is turned off, or the last curtain is closed. What I do now will certainly have its collaborations, but the process is infinitely simpler; more direct; perhaps even, for me at least, more meaning-filled.