“You have to have the guts to engage with your own spiritual journey, which is what life is for. It can be reflected in art, but art won’t take you there on its own. It’s not good enough. You actually have to use your inquiring mind and question yourself and the bullshit of things. You have to avoid getting tied up in intellectual and ironic gameplay, which will not liberate you. We want freedom, we want liberation, and you’re not going to get it in postmodernism. You’re going to get it through authentic engagement.
Postmodernism is always making a joke or a reference to originality. It’s worried about originality, but the only thing that matters is authentic response. Authentic response means you need to be in your heart, in yourself, because then you can respond authentically. You don’t need to try find new ways unnecessary, innovative ways of taking art forward. Everything is already here.”
— Billy Childish
Art serves as a fantastic mirror. For the artist, it can be both self-reflection and self-revelation. What is inside is evoked and made manifest. When we look at art it may also be revelatory and connective as we see ourselves through our senses, our understanding and our emotional connection to the work.
Mirrors are fantastic tho if we spend all our time looking into them we can easily fall prey to narcissism. It takes more than that tho to reach true understanding. It takes a willingness to question what we see and act on whatever answers we may receive and then question some more. It means opening ourselves up in new ways to the world around us and dealing with even those parts of it and ourselves that we may not wish to because it feels yucky. It means being naked emotionally and spiritually in ways that many of us never have before and in that vulnerable exposure lose any fear we may have. Perhaps that is when we become more than just artists of the pen or brush or computer and become true artists of life.
Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.
— Jack Kerouac
I love life even the rough parts. If anything, it is at the times when things are roughest that I tend to appreciate my life the most. As far as we know and can know its the only game in town. We can change it. We can evolve it yet still we will have rough times. People won’t do what we want them to do. We may not have money. We may be starving and yet we’re alive to experience it all. Either things will get better or they will stay rough yet at this moment, no matter how badly we may be suffering, the fact that we are able to suffer to me is a cause for celebration. If we are a reflection of an eternal being and each life is merely a schoolroom or drama that we put on to experience than we have nothing to fear from death and every hardship is somewhat irrelevant. If this is the only life we have and this is the only expression of my being that will ever exist than I may as well live it to the fullest with the highest highs and lowest lows possible. Either way I’m here and this is what is happening now. This moment will never come again. For well or not, we might as well celebrate it.
“There is no meaning in life. The meaning is in sentences, meaning is in symbols that symbolize life. Life itself does not have a meaning because that’s what meaning refers too, meaning refers to life. To look for meaning in life is like looking for trees on a map. You can find squiggles that represent trees but you won’t find the trees there. The squiggles only represent the trees or the rivers. You can’t wash in a river on a map, you gotta find a real river”
— Robert Anton Wilson
Do you know what I mean? Do you grok what I’m saying? Do you stand under my words and comprehend them? When you look at a picture or read a poem what does it reveal to you? Is it what the author or artist intended to convey or have you found something independent of their intentions that allows you to take ownership because it has brought you to something or something to you that no one else has seen?
I get real pleasure when someone points out something in my pictures that I had not consciously put there. Oh often when they point it out, I see it but somehow they have taken something that I created and breathed new life into it. In this small way my art has grown beyond me. So when someone says “I love the face that you put in there”. I smile and thank them for being so observant. They have revealed to me something that I had created without realizing it. I can’t image a truer gift.
“There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive. ”
― Philip K. Dick
There is no escape from the life maze. Oh we can end our physical existence anytime we wish yet from all indications, life doesn’t stop there. Whether we find ourselves in Odin’s Halls or Gehenna or at gates of Pearl or whether we start it all again in another cycle of physicality life is still there. Even if those fundamentalist atheists are right, still our bodies nourish the ground that will yield plants and we still remain part of life. There’s no leaving the game so might as well learn to play it. There seems so many rules to it and countless variation. The rules may be broken at whim and we can always fall back into earlier games and earlier times. We can flow along the river or against the current, we can willingly sink deeper and find more control. We can enjoy the maze at will and keep on moving through it and who knows perhaps in time we will discover that we are the ones who built it in the first place.
“I think the only way to avoid going crazy is to get your story straight, and perhaps the only way you can get the story straight is to allow yourself in some sense to go mad. It is also true for mad men and mad women that everything is significant. Paranoids and schizophrenics and depressives deal with the world as if every falling leaf had – well, they take the world personally. That’s almost by definition a mad person. And I guess an artist has to do the same thing.”
— Russell Banks
I contain my world and my world contains me. It’s amazing how much I have to grow, become TARDIS like, bigger on the inside to be able to handle everything I’ve seen. Tho as I expand so does my world. New experiences, people and ideas come rushing in to fill me. I may not be responsible for everything that happens in it yet some response seems called for. Of course that doesn’t mean I have to respond. I can watch the show witness it…and then transform it through art and writing..yet still i participate and it changes me and my art as I change it… thus does my art and life co-create each other and at the intersection of art and life I remain.
“Between the world of men and make believe I can be found.”
— Dan Fogelberg
“You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care, nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.”
― Kahlil Gibran
Can you picture a life free from care, free from want never with anything to grieve over? Can you imagine no challenges that come up, no arguments or trouble? Wow, then what would it take to encourage growth? How would I see where my blind spots were? I can’t imagine that a life like that would be anything but stagnant. I want to have challenges that I learn from. I want to know grief and sometimes anger and hurt. I want to know them for what they are and find the joy and lesson that comes from dealing with each one. I will dare the thorn for the gift of the rose’s beauty always.