What is wrong with what I do?

People fear critiques like a rabbit running from fire.

I know, I don’t normally update this often, but I have a lot on my mind… and I figure, better to tell you, five of tens of people who may actually read this, than no one at all. This is a joke (and explaining a joke is lame-o, but I’d rather you understand I’m not terribly serious), even if it’s a serious one.

You wouldn’t be the first to say I’m contradictory, but never mind that.

It’s been an interesting week, of interesting conversations so far. Such as, talking about the value of location, which made me ask myself “am I too safe here?”. I’ve moved before away from my hometown, for no proper reason than because I felt I needed change, and it was good but also very hard and I left feeling like risk taking was maybe more risk than I was willing to take. I like where I live, the land here makes me feel quiet inside which is something I need. However there are logistical problems with this location. I question whether staying here will let me grow as an artist. I often feel like I’m shouting into a void where nobody can hear me, and the current markets that are familiar with me both can’t afford me and aren’t interested in what I do beyond occasionally bumping into a work like a loud drunk person at a christmas party.

I had a conversation about critiques and criticism, and feeling largely misheard because of the choice of listening to a personal narrative over what I was trying to say. This is making me question where I put forth my energy and time, and again I feel like I’m failing to reach people… I’m thinking, communication is a matter of trust. You have to be considered reliable to be worth listening to. In that specific subculture, I’m gonna wager I am not, and that’s not something I blame them for. It’s sad to me, because I try to be authentic as much as I can, but when we communicate we are in part dealing with the unknown personal bias of the Other. Uncontrollable variables. We can’t control how people react to us. So… I let it go, and ask myself  ‘How can I be better next time?’.

And today, I went through a pile of some of my sketchbooks. Most are in the basement packed away father than I care to reach in a moment, but I had some on some shelves in my living room. I don’t throw them away, I only occasionally lose one on accident, so they date back to when I was 8. The ones in my living room, based off the images and the notes inside, date from college to sometime in 05. Nothing recent.

I look through them, and I feel like I have failed as an artist.

Self critique is very important, and we gotta be mindful that we need to be fair. When I say I have failed… I don’t mean that as a finality, only that I see a problem. I have always focused on the figure, and the mythos of human experience. Sometimes I’ve become more graphic, others more real. But I’m asking myself “have I grown?”

and more importantly, “Does my work have value?”

Right now, based on the reactions of others, I’m not sure that it does. Have I been trying to have a visual conversation where everyone around me only pretends to listen out of being polite?

What is it that I have to say, and is that even worth while?

I hope you understand this isn’t coming out of a depressed place. I have to think very critically because if I can’t see the problem, I can’t fix it. So. I’m working at connection, and I have some ideas. One is renew a practice of observational life drawing. Another is search for more steady work. Self employment is isolating and I have found myself struggling with it a lot lately. Plus I miss being part of a team… and having affordable insurance.

and tonight, in my musey-muses I’m thinking I need to take a trip. I don’t know where yet, but hopefully somewhere that has a clue or a sign post or a message that will help me move forward. Somewhere out west perhaps? Maybe back to Manitou for a minute? That place has some weirdness… but I think I need something more than elusive graves, prophetic bones, and forbidden paths (true story, that’s a whole crazy thing maybe I’ll tell you about someday). I just want to get some direction, ask someone who can tell me some real answers “what’s wrong with my shit, how do I fix it, and where should I go next?”

A thing I find frustrating, is I can never find people who can answer my questions. I can figure it out by myself most of the time, but the really important ones…. I can’t see. It’s a basic drive that we find value in what we do. The thing that renders our purpose. Since I’m without family/spouse and all, I have to find meaning in the work I do. If other people don’t find what I do useful, then I must adapt. Just gotta figure what that means.

Wee, ain’t big life questions fun? Maybe I should give it all up and become a hotel manager, just like one of my college professors said we would be… heh.

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