It’s happened. I turned 45 a few days ago, and I have been for a bit trying to decide how I feel about that.
And… how I’ve been feeling about everything. Lots of change this past year, and I also feel like I’ve been standing still. Old, and yet young. Mature'(ish) and yet brazen. A long time ago, when I was still in my teens, a stranger described me as a contradiction. That’s never been something I’ve attempted to live up to, but perhaps that’s me all the same.
Let me catch you up. In the studio I have created a personal goal which is to make $100 minimum of work every day on average. The idea behind this is to build up my ‘for sale’ portfolio to prepare to vend. On top of wholesale and online the move is to make me more solvent as a working artist. This also connects to my goal to travel more and to meet people, although I know it’ll take some time. Start small, work the region and go from there. I see little sense in promoting myself locally as the general consensus (both from personal experience and from watching others at work) is locals who buy art don’t buy local, and local artist don’t sell local. It is what it is. So as I look at my options I have decided to focus on production and see where that gets me.
In other footnote news, I have gone back to my studies in Spanish. My goal is to become at least somewhat conversational when I have enough cash saved to spend a week or two in the Yucatán. There are many reasons why I want to go, the beauty of it, the underground lakes, the Mayan ruins, the people. In general I want to travel more, and as far as non-english speaking countries go I think it’s a fair place to start. I’m also trusting my instincts. Perhaps I will happen upon a spiritual experience. I won’t know unless I trust my instincts… but before that I think it’s best to be prepared.
So I draw, paint, and try to trust myself, as all artists must do. I’ll tell ya, trusting yourself is the hardest part. It’s easier to second guess, listen to trends or friends or family and what they like. What I believe is that we all have a still voice inside of ourselves, the True Voice. The seat of our soul if you will. It’s buried under self doubt, the demands of culture and family, and today under memes and societal pressure. For me, the goal of the artist is to speak to the soul, the secret heart of ourselves. Those bits we don’t always admit to. It can be beauty, or pain, or spiritual, or depraved, but it all surmounts to growth in the end.
If I have secrets, one is that I don’t believe in a flat narrative. We tell the stories of our lives to try to make sense of things, but life isn’t a story, it’s a progression of experiences that leads to growth. Stories are just how we try to make sense of things. The conscious language we speak is a narrative, but we experience life like the tide. Rolling and crashing. We can only make sense of what the tide leaves behind, and the more we look, the more we see.
This is about trusting myself more, something I need to do. This is part of my own personal transition, which is letting go of what is expected of me and becoming what I secretly know I must become. There’s no guarantee of success, at least how we in the west define success. How I see it is that we all stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us. Our ancestors, our inspirations, and the people who did the work to learn what we eventually take for granted.
I accept the odds that I will fade into obscurity is very high. I am now what I would technically call middle aged (to my own wry amusement). I have no children, and I doubt whatever my physical legacy is will last much longer past my existence no matter how short or long it might be. I suppose my hope is now that I can inspire others. Break some small space open to see your beauty, or potential, or whatever moves you to a positive end. I have found that I am very good at opening doors for people, and I think now more than ever people need that. It’s going to be a process, and work, and it’ll fly in the face of logic as our society is built not on inspiration, but what turns a profit.
Lofty magical goals I guess. A long time ago an ex mocked me for being a dreamer. I’m all for practical application, but to not see the potential seems like a waste. I look at what people write in various social media and I see sorrow and resignation that could use a touch of inspiration and imagination. The future isn’t totally set, even though we all can only control what is directly in front of us. I suppose… I can only say I will continue to think and to write about this. Maybe I’ll end up making sense some day.