This week's post is about pain and loss and making art that is true; that has your heart in it.
The connection between the feelings of an artist and their work seems to be a mystery for those who don't make art themselves. As a human being, I am one giant living breathing processor of emotions; emotions that often feel like they are assaulting me. We don't want to feel everything we do, do we?
The thing is, if you walk through the world with an open heart- it's going to get broken. Probably a bunch of times. I've had loss on my mind lately. This time last year I began to watch my grandma, who I was very close to, slowly die. I'd like to think I helped her with that process, but ultimately, it is something we all do alone, even if someone is right there holding your hand. I also lost a pet, something many can relate to, and watched those around me dealing with various losses in their own lives. There have been a couple of medical scares that resolved uneventfully, but made me confront my own mortality, and that of those I love.
I still have no idea, when the time comes, if life will be something that is torn from me, or that I will willingly release. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. The inevitability of it confounds me when I really think hard about it though.
Sometimes the thing we're losing is a part of ourselves, or a dream of how we wanted our life to turn out, or our youth, or an important relationship. It all sucks. It all feels like being pecked to death by birds, slowly. But--- the only alternative to feeling all this painful stuff, is to close off your heart, and build walls to keep all the feelings out. I've done that in the past, and used to think it was a sign of strength.
Now I think differently. I think it's braver to go through all the losses and changes life brings, feel the pain, but to not let it change you too much. Perhaps you'll have more empathy, which is a good thing.
I think it is a far braver move to thrust your heart right out there and give life and the people around you all of yourself, knowing you are vulnerable to being hurt again--- and I believe you get more out of it too. Stay a live nerve ending while you have the chance to.
I am a believer that the pendulum swings both directions. Every experience expands your personal capacity. Growth, people.
Anyway, in this video I describe how the sculpture I'm trying to make ties in to my personal feelings about loss. This is something that has taken me a long time to realize; that people pick up on this in my work (when i do a good job)-- the emotional residue.