Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Cry of Limbo, The Pain of Creation

Whoosh. Such a coveted word for an Artist. It's like feeling the magical power of the wind at your back, pushing you forward. Much like giving birth; the baby gushing swiftly, like an unstoppable waterfall from the birth canal. Quickly and suddenly without much notice.  But it's about all the pain before this creation.  Head full of bursting ideas, shy with complexity and unsure of critical reactions.  Vanishing one's authentic idea force in order to make others comfortable in their own skin.  It's panic and uncertainty and longing for recognition that drives us into deep dark places. And worse. Self-censorship.  It's the cry of limbo.

Being in limbo is not healthy for creative people, but sadly it is a necessary step in the process.  If you are unable to take a stand and remain hanging helplessly on a swooping clothes line, you will literally hang yourself out to dry.  You may even give up your dream of being or becoming an Artist.  Another example is sitting on a fence. Squatting and watching either side. Should I jump over here or over there?  Please don't lie to me. You know you have done this.

I asked my 80 year old Grandmother once. 'How old do you feel inside?' and she shocked me when she said, '30'. It's true for Artists too.  We still feel that 5 or 11 year old brain full of strange intuitions and visions.  

Somehow, some way, you have got to muster up enough courage to draw the line and stomp your foot and announce to the world. 'I am an Artist.'  And begin.  Yes you feel misunderstood and like an outsider.  Yes you will probably starve some weeks.  Yes loved ones will discourage you. Yes you will doubt your decision. And yes. You will eventually make that body of work that will be left for the world. A mark; a fossil of you, that you lived, mattered and made art.  And just like that. Whoosh.

Patti Friday, Photojourno, reporting from inside 'The Art Dept.' at the international 'Embassy of Ideas'.

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