Two voices of consciousness #17

by Linda

Finding freedom did not bring me peace, quite the opposite. Rather than surround me with productive comfort, it pushed me into a deep, creative crisis that mainly revolves around questioning my role as an artist and the general meaning and quality of my work. I’ve been thinking about the Artist in relation to the Family, what it means to be born into a family of artists, what the impact of these circumstances has on the art that is made by someone who did not learn the job in art school but by someone who never even considered any other carries alternatives. Or more accurately, art made by someone who does not see himself or herself even having a carrier, only a life. And this is what I should remember, art is not a carrier choice, it is only a life style. Taking in consideration that even if you are fully qualified (academically) and that you make work on a full time basis, it hardly ever pays you a salary. If you can’t feed you family with your art, can you call yourself a professional artist?  Art is not a profession, it is a choice of lifestyle. I always wonder how come we never have money for anything, but we can still afford everything.

Is it so that the children of artist’s, who also grows up to become artists, can skip a few steps on the run, jump over some phases of their artistic growth simply because they are already familiar with the lifestyle and all the sacrifices that is built into it. Or maybe they don’t see them as sacrifices, it is just life the way they know it. For someone who comes from “the outside”, no reason to use euphemism’s here, it has taken a long time for me to even be able to call myself an artist, because it’s simply just not anything you do. It’s not a profession. You either are an artist or you’re not. And it can take a lifetime to figure that equation out.

I am struggling with my artistic identity. I can’t place it anywhere. I’m constantly validating my choices and telling myself and others, who ever happens to ask me the appalling question “what do you do for a living?”, that art is a real job. I have an obsessed need and unrealistic idea of that I need to make living on this even though everybody knows that paying bills with art is a long shot. I can’t help myself thinking, that if you can’t pay your bills with it, it’s not a real job. I sometime wish, every second day currently, that I had a regular job that would at least give me an excuse to not think about who or what I am.

I’ve had such a clear picture in my head of what it means to be an artist, that firstly I haven’t been able to call myself an artist and secondly, doing just that, achieving something that would earn me that title, has been my silent goal for several years. It has made me come into this from a completely backward position. I have been applying and striving all around, grabbing opportunities from every angle and compensating the lack of actual work with administrative activity. Sometimes successfully all to judge, but still. Gain has been my endeavour. My work has not risen from me, rather the outside world, dictated by the appropriate trends and I made what I thought would be appreciated. And when it wasn’t, I fell. What I could not work out before, and what the past year mainly thought me, was that it wasn’t appreciated because it was “bad” it just wasn’t honest. When I found the freedom of making work that is honest and pure and released from everything that by force surrounds it if I don’t fight it, I found myself questioning my artistic identity and whether I am, or ever will be, able to pull it off as an artist.

When everything is stripped down to the core, honesty is what remains. And that is the most heart braking thing there is.