I have often said that I am my art and my art is me. At times, it's nearly impossible for me to separate the two. Perhaps that is why I am so often treated like a piece of art, but not in the wonderful sense with which art deserves to be treated...more like a collectible, only to be discarded and replaced when my collector (in this case referring to relationships and significant others) gets weary or feels I've lost my luster. This is a pattern I have seen play out time and time again, under varying circumstances and variables. After my last experience of being pulled off the wall and thrown in a corner to be forgotten like a painting that is no longer wanted or appreciated, it got me thinking. I decided it was worth exploring in a new painting and also sharing for others that may have similar experiences.
Long ago, I learned that a many people love the idea of an artist. What I also learned the hard way is that not as many love the reality...at least not the true reality beyond the illusion. The very same things that people come to love you for as an artist can often drive them to the point of dislike, hatred, or worst of all for me, utter and complete indifference. People love the fantasy of an artist, the mystery. They want the dreams, the magic, the passion, the intensity, and the creativity. But they only want it until they don't. What they neglect from the start, in my personal experience, is to realize that artists are real people beyond the image people create of them. They are a spectrum beyond the snapshot on social media that may draw you into them.
Creativity, like everything else in life, comes at a price. Only those immersed in the creative universes we build in our heads and transfer to alternative mediums, often to escape, will ever truly understand what that price is. It can't be described in words in my case (though I attempt to here), only through my brush. As the artist creates their own magical world that lures in those charmed by their limitless world of wonders, admirers will often begin painting their own picture of who they believe the artist is or should be. The artist may pull the creativity out of the newly enchanted, but in return, if not careful, the spellbound (intentionally or unintentionally) may reverse this love spell and suck the creativity out of the artist in the most destructive manner possible...one which may even cost the artist their own artistry. For me, that's my entire world, my life, my everything.
The way the pattern goes for me, is that I build and build and build after hitting a new bottom. I recreate myself from the framework on up. I patch my holes and build beautiful new layers on the canvas of my life after thinking, and almost believing, it simply wasn't possible to do so again. I add a fresh coat of varnish, a nice glossy sheen, and am at my best, even better than before...a beautiful, though imperfect, painting ready to be placed on the gallery walls for exhibit.
This is always the time when I draw these collectors (again, referencing significant others in a metaphorical manner) in, which makes sense, because people follow the energy and they see something positive, something with value, something to obtain and collect. Everyone loves a winner, a success story, someone that rebuilt themself from scratch. There is a lot to offer there, and much to take. This is the piece they must have. They want to intimately know every stroke of the canvas, to be one with its energy. Suddenly the energy of the painting, of the artist, is mirrored by the collector. This is when the collector takes on the role of artist of sorts, the role of actress. This is also when the creative energy exchange begins. One gives and the other takes under the guise of reciprocating the energy. The creative reciprocation in this case is only the art of deception.
After being placed on the wall and displayed for varying periods of time, generally the duration of a good museum show (3-6 months), my time in the spotlight runs out. Whether I've lost my luster or I've been replaced by a new piece of art (which has happened countless times), my time is done and I am tossed aside, left with little choice but to start from scratch. I'm not even returned, which would allow me to be restored with a little touch up. I'm treated with such disregard and indifference that I'm not given a second though. I'm yesterday's fad, and no longer in style. I'm no longer the new, and thus no longer exciting. I've become another forgotten painting in the history of art.
Such is the tragic comedy of life. I've been blessed with many things, one of which is the ability to share my stories through the canvas. The price though, is having to live through the experiences to share those stories. That, perhaps, is the true art here. If that is the case though, I may have have to strongly reconsider whether or not I would be willing to give that up...to trade that for not having to go through the experiences. Lucky for those that have come to appreciate what I do and these stories of hope that come from tremendously dark places and moments, that is beyond my power and out of my hands to a great extent. I can only do what I can do, and I am doing what I can do.
Rest assured that a new canvas is in the works and I am starting from scratch. Truth be told, I don't know where this one will go. On a positive note, I can paint whatever I want, go wherever I want, become whatever I want. I just need to be much more cautious about who receives this piece of art, of me. One thing I do believe, that I know, is that I have so much more value that what has been assigned to me by those that have had me in their possession. I'm an undiscovered masterpiece mistaken for a thrift store painting. I must also consider that perhaps I'm meant for museum walls, to be loved and appreciated by many from near and far, rather than for the walls of one person that doesn't even know, or care, for the art they had.
I am my art and my art is me.