Paused

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It’s so cliché to for an artist to experience what is commonly referred to as a blockage. Writers block, creative block, “I’m so blocked right now.” The word has never quite sat right with me because I feel that it does a poor job at providing adequate descriptive power over what exactly the experience being had holds. The main reason I don’t like when artists say, “I’m just blocked” is because it’s a conversation ender. Because it’s such a universal feeling for us creatives, its almost become an expectation people have for artists to be blocked in some way. So it’s treated the same conversationally as, “I’m so sick to my stomach,” in that, there is a quick nod of sympathy and a “say no more” kind of follow up. People don’t like to talk about shit.

I have always chosen to say, “I’m feeling paralyzed.” Not only does it more aptly tell those listening what you’re feeling, but it invites a call to action. People want to help, and they can help if given the opportunity to give a push. It’s a little more vulnerable to say that you are paralyzed, but I think it’s important. It’s the difference between, “say no more” and “Oh my God I totally understand that feeling, lets talk about it.”
I’m blocked = A wall
I’m Paralyzed = A door

I have been trying to figure out what to call the space I’m in now because I’m not paralyzed but I’m also not producing the work yet. I’ve never been here before. I’d say I’ve been more paused than anything. Biding time, waiting to release something that is coming. Building up a net of collaborators, having meetings, working on verbiage, ideating. I’ve nearly got every duck in a row on paper and in people, and though I’ve been busy conceptualizing and troubleshooting, I’ve had to pause in my action. It’s kind of like I’ve filled the balloon and now I’m waiting for the time to pop it. I think this is what happens when you’ve learned a thing or two about bringing big ideas into the world, you change your approach as you grow.

It took some time though to come around to the idea that inaction can be an intelligent and necessary thing. Appearing publicly inactive is a strange thing because in the head of the artist, it can sometimes feel like a lack of productivity, which is what all the work behind the scenes for me feels like. If I have nothing material produced to share with the world, how else do I get that feeling of having been productive, how do I learn to value the planning as work, the process of putting something together as work?

I’ve been silently working on something I really believe in for a year.
And reallllllly soon I’m gonna let it out.

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A blog? Why?

15109423_10154234454022746_3577975369502324367_nI’m not sure why I started a blog. I’m not sure what it is I’m trying to accomplish. Maybe I’ll forget about it and move on to something else. Maybe a publishing house will read it, and publish my writing and then I’ll be rich and famous and buy a pool house (a house that is also a pool).

 

At any rate, I had a studio visit a couple months ago, where I was given the advice; “never let the public know you have no money/are struggling.” I thought a lot about it, so much so that I have not mentioned it in any regard on any media, though I have talked about it in private with those who have proven to be trustworthy. I feel so embarrassed. It’s humbling to be in-between houses, and to inhabit another persons space because you have none to call your own. It’s terribly unsettling to have backed up bills, no money, and everything you want to do creatively is paused because priority stands in financial recovery. How did I get here?

Coincidentally, I was recently propositioned with a commission amounting in the exact total of dollars I needed to sign a lease for December 1st. I have had the great fortune of my art bailing me out of several fairly serious financial nightmares throughout the years. It paid off extortion fees from the Ohio government, and it has recently saved me from another month of using my back seats as a closet. It’s moments like these where my art takes care of me, and I have faith again in the magic of serendipity. That what I do is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I’ve wrestled a lot with the advice I was given, because what I heard was, “don’t ask for help.” On one hand I see where acknowledging to the public that the artist struggles, could weaken their social capital and so much of the success we artists acquire is determinant upon that social capital; unfortunately on this end, the artist is reduced to business and businesses can’t appear weak if people are to invest. I get it. It is smart to stay quiet. On the other hand though, we are people who have extraordinarily ordinary human experiences, and part of that experience is hardship. For an artist to denounce hardships in the name of protecting branding, it suggests to me an inauthenticity.  Both are valid.

I have no qualms with asking for help when it relates directly to a creative vision I need financial backing to execute. I do though have trouble asking for help when I need it for me. It does seem weak. I don’t think it is though. It’s a strange thing to navigate life as both artist and person, and trying to separate a persona from real life. For me they are both the same, my persona is who I am when I speak, and my art is who I am when there are no words. It feels unnatural for me to separate what I have to say as a person from what I have to say as an artist. So I guess maybe that’s why I started this blog. I’m trying to see if it’s possible to do both.

The Burden of Intelligence

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So I found an apartment. The landlord has been kind enough to leave the door unlocked so that I can bring things over as I feel inclined. There is a refrigerator in the living room next to a pile of rubble, it is old and talks with the wind, the walls are an oppressive burnt orange, a blast of shit sits dry on the toilet from the previous tenant, there is no heat yet and the kitchen looks like one of those pictures you see in a Buzzfeed article titled; “10 most beautiful abandon places you have to visit before you die.” It’s a work in progress, and I’ll be calling it home soon.

In the mean time I need a place to work, so yesterday I set up a make shift studio in the second living room. This place is huge by the way. I set up a chair, an easel, and unpacked my altar onto the built in oak armoire which houses a drawer bed. I only need these three elements to claim a space. I was warned by the landlord that the space is haunted, so I spent some time yesterday making friends with the spirit, and setting boundaries, and I reinforced my rule that it can only make its presence known when I am making art, and even then, it is only permitted to watch. There was a moment as I spoke out loud to this spirit where I thought I might be officially losing my mind, but ultimately felt reassured that I am just becoming more myself.

I had an energy painting scheduled for 7pm so I needed this studio space to be in working order. I was particularly excited to do an energy painting for this individual because I hold this person in high regard as an artist and as a brilliant mind. I was a little self conscious of the state of the space, but I had a space heater and doors to separate the visual of the rest of the apartment. We lit some candles, got high, and the process was underway.

My favorite part of giving energy paintings is the conversation that happens after the painting, after the reading, after the vulnerability. We went down several philosophical paths, some of which I could actually feel my brain putting a stop to, saying, “whoah dude, chill out, this thought is not something we can grasp right now, put a pin in it.” I walked them to their car and left on a thought which was approached while discussing how the most intelligent people are tortured by it.

My head immediately jumped back to an energy painting I gave to someone who at the time was a stranger, and is now one of my dearest friends. When I was giving the reading, the string of words, “You are suffering from the burden of intelligence,” asked to be expressed to this person. It was a thought I’d never said, or thought about, or been exposed to. It was just what they needed to hear. I hadn’t really thought about this concept again until last night when it was jogged.

I think in the way that it communicates here, intelligence is not being measured in IQ, but in seeing. To see the world and the infinity of possibilities of thought and action, to see and feel the world without the shroud and comfort of ignorance, to exist authentically and boldly in any capacity in a world that does not value or understand sight, is an act of high intelligence. And it is a burden. I surround myself with intelligent people, because I think it is the only thing that can lighten the load. So many of my closest friends are feeling the burden of intelligence right now. Maybe because there seems to be such an overwhelming lack of it in the forces that govern us. But we keep our eyes open still, and I think that’s something.