Yesterday I found out that the gallery show at the EFA I had been invited to participate in over a year ago by my friend and extremely talented curator and self-described change agent, Elae, had been greenlit after a year of budget concerns. This marks the first time that I will have my work displayed in a major Manhattan gallery and (be paid something to do so!). I’m ecstatic, and under my joy, I want to step back and examine exactly why.
I am an artist because I make art.
2020 has been a weird year. I’ve had an even weirder 5 years, with the real capper beginning about 2 years ago leading to my transition and recovery. I say that to say that I have often not made a lot of art. And often the art that I have made has been in the forms of events, organizations, and conceptual processes. The latter is perhaps the hardest to talk about.
I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s “creative memoir” Floor Sample, and during her early recovery she struggles to readjust to her life outside of the limelight and high rolling Hollywood hills. As she looses all the trapping of her writerly success (regardless of how vapid and fragile they may have been), she’s told by her mentors in AA over and over again, “You’re a writer because you write.” It’s during this time that she develops the strategy of writing just three pages a day, a seemingly slow pace that causes her to accumulate quality work at what becomes a seemingly breakneck speed.
There are two important lessons I’m trying to learn here. First, I’m an artist because I make art. And second, the making is about the daily work.
I’ve often approached my projects as monumental undertakings, that need to be deeply considered and developed before they’re worth starting. This blog itself is a concretization of the process of a little bit at a time applied to my creative process generally. In the wake of my upcoming show, I’m flooded with gratitude that I now have a catalyst and venue for a particular scope of work, but reminded that the venue, the money, nor the completed project are what make me an artist. The work of an artist is the dot connecting, the creative resynthesis of reality into a form that expresses a perspective on subjective truth that transcends a particular context. My value as an artist lies to me personally in my ability to consistent do this work of resynthesis on a daily basis, and it’s up to me to create, manage, and distribute the media that makes that process into a public one. Because without exposure, ideas have yet to be of service to anyone.
All of that said, there is great value in the facilitation of the creative process formed by curator, venue, timeline, and budget. Together, they form the physical parameters the bound the birthing canal for conceptual meandering to become real, and for that I’ve been called to work. I may have been an artist regardless of my placement in a gallery setting, but I have been unemployed as much by my own past unwillingness to cast open the doors of my creative process as I have by a lack of public of private patron. I have already chosen to end the former, and, it is with great delight, that I embark on the end of the latter as well.