I’m by myself today.
It’s been a *LONG* time since I’ve been alone, in the still quiet, with no obligations to go out, nothing planned, just noise from my own shuffling footsteps and loud silent conversations in my mind.
I used to experience this often when I was trying to make my way as an artist, spending whole weekends “arting”, aka “drinking and drawing”, without ever speaking a word to another human being except maybe “Pork fried rice, wonton soup. No, that’s all thanks.”
I used to be very lonely back then, albeit hyper productive.
I don’t make much art anymore. It used to be a source of income and self worth, and in the middle of my life, I’ve come to a point where I feel I no longer need the approval of my art for my self worth, and financially, I’ve come to believe, or rather know, that the business of art is by far more lucrative than being an artist alone.
Having the knowledge of that fact interferes with my desire to create art nowadays. With every piece of art that I begin, eventually, the question of marketability comes into question, dispelling all desire to follow through as the following dilemma rears its ugly ugly head,
Will this make money? No.
Should I make something that’s geared to make money? No.
Inevitability, if you ever have philosophical discussions about doing something, whether it be a job or art, someone will always bring up doing something “for love” which is a ridiculous and grandiose call to action to burden on someone, when rarely does anyone just do something for love. And, typically, those who assert that suggestion have never been in a circumstance removed from financial necessity, as well as other barriers of daily life, to be able to test the assertion that they could do something just for the sake of “love.” Art requires effort. Watching television, eating chocolate, looking at internet cat images requires very little. People love doing those things.
I hate to be so analytical, but the state of “love” is a merely the existence of a symbiotic reward system, sometimes it’s well balanced, sometimes it lopsided. Recently, when asked by an aunt if I ever made my own art anymore, I replied “It’s hard to love something that nobody else loves.” In other words, if there is not sufficient reciprocation, love dies. Being that creating a work of art requires extraordinary effort in comparison to watching television, if there is not sufficient reciprocity, whether it be in monetary reward, praise, or whatever exchange which one’s mind deems sufficient, there will be no compulsion to act.
I think over the years, with my rigorous experience as an art director in a very competitive industry, I have so fine tuned my discernment of marketability, in a sense, discernment of intangible exchanges made in reciprocal relationships, when it comes to art among other things, it has destroyed whatever rose colored lopsided infatuation I ever had with being an artist as well as striped all events into somewhat quantitatively measureable exchanges. It’s a horrible affliction.
As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Dreaming about being an actress, is more exciting then being one.”
So I am by myself this weekend. No art to keep me company, or at least there is no significant compulsion to create art for which many will not love since it is not pop culture, nor do I desire to create art that will make money but inefficiently.
It’s definitely a conundrum.
There is one story that comes to mind in all this. The premise is about a lifelong priest who has lost his faith in God, and when he confides this truth to another priest, the priest replies “just pretend and continue as usual.”