How to be good at being bad at something

Why being a Tortured Artist is Dumb

Maker Marathon Week Three edited!

When I was in art school I made this ridiculous project for a photo class. I cannot find a picture of the final project (it is literally driving me crazy and my parents crazy who I keep bugging about it) but here is the image of the very first draft. It has probably gone the direction all college art goes and ended up in the trash. Anyways, the project was a recreation of the game Clue. I had created new characters based on facets of my personality, weapons were made out of different sewing tools, and locations were different areas of my tiny room that also worked as a studio because….college. On the back of each card was part of an image, like a puzzle. When you put the puzzle together it was a large image of each character having committed suicide with a specific sewing tool in a specific area of the time room/workspace. Art School am I right?

I ran into my photography teacher years later and she told me that she still remembers that amazing project. When she asked what I was up to now and I told her I was working in a craft shop, she seemed slightly disappointed and went back to talking about my final project and how awesome it was. My only response was, “ya, I was pretty fucked up”. I probably trashed that project because it was so packed with negative emotion I was unable to see it’s worth or potential. So did it even have any?

It is completely unfair the same words used to describe someone who has been emotionally or physically abused or institutionalized because they are emotionally non-functional are normally the same words used to describe the many people like me. Our “depression” (or whatever) is like really bad allergies; it makes life insanely difficult if you don’t do anything about it but you can still do life. Just really badly. It is my belief that our parents generation and the generation before them had a lot of unresolved issues. Mine seems to be the first generation trying to gain some self awareness and emotional intelligence to try and stop the cycle. Therefore we are all pretty aware of what makes us need anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. Plus everyone is exposed to a lot of different information all the time in this society. The majority of it is not great. It is a lot to take in.

There seems to be this public opinion that this type of internal pain creates great art. On one hand that makes sense. When you are in that much pain you are probably overwhelmed with such raw intense emotion that it needs an expressive outlet. What your create probably speaks to a lot of people. But at what cost? Think about all the amazing artists we revere that hurt themselves, committed suicide, or just didn’t receive recognition or money until after they were dead. What good is that? Life is literally made of first person experiences. We are incapable of experiencing anyone else’s life. So if your experience consisted of you emotionally beating yourself up, I highly doubt after death you will find inner peace by knowing -now that you aren’t around anymore -people appreciate what you were trying to do. What if all these geniuses were overwhelmed by a different emotion. Like joy or peace? Would that mean they wouldn’t feel the need to create? Or would they create mediocre work? Or maybe they could have created something equally as expressive. Or maybe we all need to face the fact that pain speaks louder than joy?

I just think this is an idea we should stop romanticizing. The world is probably so broken because it is made of little tiny broken building blocks. Each tiny block contributes to the larger image. Similar to that of a Suicide-by-Art-Clue themed collage. Wouldn’t it be helpful if we started with the tiny building blocks and stop believing the “ends justify the means” and started focusing on our experience. How much better it feels to try to be honest with ourselves and other people about what we need. Being honest with yourself is the hardest and I would argue one of the most important things. No one wants to face their inner crap pile. This all feels very naive, but it is just an idea.

When I am not OK I do not create art, never mind good art. Even if I did it, I wouldn’t be able to care. I am most productive when I am full of joy or when I am driven to find a deeper honest understanding of myself and the world around me.

This was a very dramatic long winded way of saying look at these silly things I made! They make me laugh, which is honestly the goal a lot of the time :). CLICK HERE.

Semi-related informative link HERE.

IMG_05211-01

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s