When I interview an artist for an article, my favorite question to ask is: What is the most controversial piece that you've created? They laugh and a good story generally follows.
Personally, my most "controversial" ironically mild. "Status Update" settles in my mind. She's a painting that I intended to represent the classics transitioning into the future through our cultural convergence with social media. My mysterious subject had meticulous rows of glass beads for hair, crystal adornments and foil pigments in her dress. Her creation was a branching out with my mixed media repertoire.
There's just something about her. She has cause to update her status. Where had she been? What news was she about to share? That's the direction that I anticipated my audience to take. Simple right? Apparently not!
"Statues Update" stirred people up! She invited debate. She was viewed as a period piece with the unthinkable: a laptop! Why on earth would I create a visual mash up of things that don't go together? Holy dichotomy! The mischievous muse answers with a smile, "Why not?"
Being an artist it's all about communication. Our creative product (artwork, performance, and or photography...) is an avenue of communication. It's the product of our experience and the voice through which we invite our viewers to share in our experiences. Sometimes this is a challenge, but the challenge is how we grow. We embrace it; we strive for it. We both love and hate it. Sometimes we even lose the trail.
If I'm honest, I have to admit I'm guilty of getting so wrapped up in exploring new concepts, postures, forms, and trying new techniques that I forget about creating a piece that really speaks to my audience; that makes them ask questions. Sometimes we lose the trail of our muse. Or perhaps we need to shift to a new perspective to recapture her sight...Cheers to that most elusive muse, the one I'm happy to stumble after.
Rolling hills and mountains create a cool respite from the Florida heat. Tucked in a mountainside wilderness the pace slows down a little. Time is made to listen, think, feel, and heal. Rejection is part of life. Rarely is this truer than for the creative. Our works are on constant display and therefore we open ourselves up to receive the thoughts of others. While feedback is crucial to honing our skills, it is not always easy to accept. It is a breath of fulfillment to hear thoughtful and affirming feedback, but can be a test of character to field the harsh word, flippantly given. As much as we might like to deny it, all of it affects our sensitive souls.
Over the years, I have benefited by the opportunity to receive wise counsel and mentor-ship. The biggest truths I have had to learn were to consider the source of unsolicited advice and to know who I want to reach with my art. Most of what a person perceives in a work of art is a reflection of their own inner thoughts. A person’s experience, perspective and personality always color the way they process information as illustrated by the Rorschach ink blot test. The ink blot test takes a random smudge of ink and asks for interpretation; what do you see? The answers piece together information about the audience and not the creator of the ink smudge, his intention, or the level of expertise. It has nothing to do with the creator!
While I believe that art is for everyone, not everyone will like what I create and that is okay. It can be a struggle as everyone, on some level, desires acceptance. Rejection is never fun. Standing tall and remaining confident is an accomplishment in itself. It is important to understand the purpose of my work is to uplift, inspire and encourage. That means I am not called to reach people who seek political depictions, or dark, tortured art. Instead, my strengths are revealed when I choose to focus on reaching those who need what I have to offer: art that makes you smile.
I don’t always hit the mark, but it has been invaluable in learning which rebukes to shake off and which to heed. When the rebuke comes from someone I consider to have wisdom, experience and education that exceed mine, it gives me pause for consideration and elevation. Iron sharpens iron, and so one man sharpens another. The wise are discerning.
Vacations are the stuff most of us look forward to all year. Escaping the daily grind in search of some new inspiration or adventures. I've always considered vacations to be a source of refreshment for the mind, body, soul and even my creative muse. Many new series have been conceived while traveling. Sometimes it's something as simple as a magnificent sunset or the rushing waters of a cool river that inspires a future series, or offers depth of experience to my work. Some destinations are more exotic than others, but no matter where I end up, my muse always finds a way to whisper in my ear.
Each year I look forward to the escape, one thing I've learned to accept: there will suddenly be an urgent demand for art while I'm away. I love to connect with clients and I seldom turn away new commissions. That means working while I'm "on vacation." Sometimes it's a deadline for an article I am freelancing. Sometimes it's a destination photoshoot. Other times, it's logo work for a launching business.
This year I have the honor of editing wedding photos, profiling an artist for an upcoming article, and creating a logo for a new business. This year is especially hectic, since our trip includes lots of friends and family, I am enjoying the few minutes of solace that I steal away each day to work. I love to socialize. I love to travel. I love to experience new things. Creating is the way that I share my experience with others. So steal away time to create I must; It is the Artistic Adventurer's way :)