Two voices of consciousness #8

by Linda

I find it strange to hear that artists are having fun while working. They are just fooling around, enjoying themselves, experimenting and what not. That is so unfamiliar to me. When I am working, fun is the very last word I would describe my workflow with. Most of the time I am fighting against something, windmills if you like. I am fighting against the weather, against the equipment, against my potential audience, against my own thoughts and this is the bloodiest fight of them all. I am attacking and defensive my own mind on a regular basis, trying to resolve issues that arise from resolving other issues. I am on a continuous battlefield that eventually culminates in a ready image. That is not fun! Why do you do it? Because it matters. Because I have something to say and I want the world to hear it. I am not a writer, hence I make images. If I would be a writer, I would make text. So do you argue, that the artists who have fun while making, their art doesn’t matter? I do not know if I want to state that, it is just something I was thinking about today during our critique session. It appears to me, that some artists have difficulties separating themselves from their work. Where does the artist end and the work begin? Do you need to separate that? I’ve had the impression that art is about the lone maker who lives for her work and work for her life. That those two things, the work and the maker, in fact are one entity. Yes, in a way that is true. But what I am trying to say, is that at some point you have to step back, snap out of it, and consider what you have done and really contemplate whether that makes any sense at all.

I do not enjoy working as an artist and at the same time I enjoy it so much that I am willing to make a whole bunch of sacrifices, and I am engaging my family into those sacrifices as well, to be able to do what I do. I do what I do, because if I would do something else, I would not feel content. And the one most important thing that I get out of my work, is freedom. And that freedom is my legacy, if nothing else.

But is it not tearing to be involved in these battles all the time? Yes, and that is why I am so precise in my work, why my images are so precise, if I am doomed to go through this hell of producing new work, I must at least be sure it is going to be well made. This constant balancing act of not stating the obvious but not being exclusive either, have to in the end lead to something good. Lead to the truth.

But I became humble today as well. I became aware of my own cynicism. When I am standing in front of a painting, I have absolutely nothing to say. Not because the painting is bad, I do not have any tools to identify a good painting from a bad, but simply because I do not know what I am looking at. Or, what I should be looking at. I have no experience in producing paintings myself, hence I have no understanding of the materials used or the issues resolved. I do not understand half of the terminology used. I have nothing to say, because I do not know what it is I should be questioning. So why should I expect people from a painting background to understand or talk critically about photography? But I am not, oppose to many of my colleagues who’s life mission it appears to be, interested in educating people in becoming more informed about my medium, because I think that is the ultimate medium. Why should I, since I am not interested in enlighten myself with the secrets of painting either. It might sound like a very juvenile perspective on art, and I guess this is just another matter I need to set upon.