“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his (/her) inner vision and its ultimate expression”.
Isaac Bashevis Singer
(sorry for the edit Isaac)
That chasm, that void has never been more vast. Isaacs explanation of the “Artist” is one of the only (if not thee only) true interpretation of how the breath of an artist is tightened and, just like breath, it is a need and without it, all withers.
The “ultimate expression” is not a dream for an artist, it’s physical. Without it, all falls and fails. The truth of a creator is ideas, to be a creative it is not what it has come to be perceived as. Strip it all away, the laptops, the gold funded pencil and a true creator still has it all, THE IDEA!
Design and mould another’s vision and spin another’s vision all you want, if the idea isn’t yours it’s not art it is creative interpretation. It’s can be beautiful and creative but it is not the art.
Ideas are not recognised as a talent in there own right and that is wrong. To execute the idea is the pain. That’s why many artists struggle to fit a field of play. I’ve certainly been around the houses. The houses being fine art, music, acting, writing, performance, dance/movement, fashion, flowers ...... the list continues. Each field I’ve trained and executed with varied successes hahaha!
A toddler struggles with pushing a square through the correctly shaped hole in the brightly coloured toy. That toddler also decides that if it doesn’t fit then it’s on to the next! That’s what creativity is, ignoring the presumption of what is expected and going it alone. Children are born artists, they inhabit a land that is not dictated by language or culture. They simply believe in the commitment to their own cause.
When I placed a green piece of paper in front of my face and constantly revealed my face to my nephew he loved it! We both enjoyed it because each one of us made it different each and every time. I changed my words and he changed his place in the room. Both of us kept re imagining what it was we were doing. Same game different apparatus, that’s what made it fun. Saying all that, after a couple of hours my adult self became a little tired with it. Maybe because I was the one that ran out of fresh ways to do it. Rowan (my nephew) has infinity in his mind still and I don’t. My little nephew is new to the world and refuses to be dictated to, he simply is. Us “adults” have lost that, some more than others. The ones left with the most bravery of self are the artists.
Our lives take over. Expectations become our currency. What is it I’m supposed to be?, Who should think I’m nice? Why does that person I want not want me?, is it me?, did that person just undermine me? work is so busy tomorrow and why am I doing any of it????
“Mind the gap” a few words that are pushed in to our ears daily. A speaker on the tram platform protects you from falling. The comical platform attendant at Angel tube station raps it to you when you’re groggy and commuting. I’ve always loved “mind the gap” and it’s so true for much more than falling off the platform. Don’t fall when it’s so obvious you do not have to. Yet, unlike the platform we fall all the time, fall away from our truth and our need to discover.
I didn’t “mind the gap”, I fell and lost what it was that I needed in order to function and truly feel. I starved myself of air and gave myself to other pursuits because of external factors. I left my creativity behind because of the desperate need for income, relationships and the self hating believe that I was self indulgent to pursue what was the only important to me, to create! Through this time my phone bulged with scenes I had wrote (now my screenplay), lyrics for songs, chord progressions and drawings but I was a tree in winter, dormant.
The exploration of self from an artist is so important. I’ve often seen self proclaimed “artists” and judged them for their work. The reason I’ve dismissed them is always because what I’ve seen of their work is untrue. It is a projection of what they want people to see and not what really is them. I have numerous friends who are making great work yet I’m to see one succeed fully (success is contextual). So many factors play a part in why some people are recognised and others aren’t and we have to be fair but I’m not going to be. The one factor that determines success is money and nepotism. This is a new phenomena, in the 1960’s Julie Walters got her complete scholarship for drama school. For the last decade scholarships are simply not enough. A scholarship is tuition and not complete financial security. I successfully auditioned for drama school but I simply couldn’t go and that was a while ago! Now it’s much worse. (I did an amazing course at Salford though and met some of the most talented people I know on it).
I spoke with my boss and apologised for calling myself an “artist” when I handed in my notice. My bosses said “don’t apologise, that’s what you are”. We had this discussion after I had decided that it was the right time to leave and give myself time to create. My boss had recognised that my abilities were constrained within a “normal” job. I have always known that. You simply cannot have a free mind when working so hard for people who have no interest in your talent other than when they can sell it and put a company name on it.
For years I have worked a normal job and pushed myself to CREATE! You get older and realise that it is simply impossible to do both. I have made things and written and performed and given myself to projects whilst I have had to maintain a full time job (dolly moaned about 9 to 5, god I wish for 9 to 5).
On making this decision to stop it all and go for full artistic freedom I knew the compromise would have to be huge. I have had to leave flip my life upside down. After making this humongous choice I received a bolt out of the blue, a company offered me a job and salary that was amazing and much more than my prior employer paid (said employer stated “you will not earn more money elsewhere pffft 💁). I was woo’d by it and considered it, but my inner creative toddler decided to say “FUCK IT”. I simply had to have my air, I needed to feel my ideas and work for them and they need to come to life on screen, on paper, on someone’s head or otherwise, I need to breathe.
Not having that expression of ideas has taken a lot from me and it is, thankfully, something that is endless in my mind. The endless pit of ideas is there (thank god!), it has been pushed aside but with having the time to bathe in them, it will (already has) come back.
A mind that’s swirling (at 2am every night) has to have a free current. The flow has to lead to the ocean. Mine had been stagnant for too long. It has been held back and unable to reach for the larger waters. The stability of self, both mental and physical has been compromised and it has affected everything in my life negatively. There is a link between artists and struggling mental health and I have to say I don’t think a true artist can have perfect “mental health”. When you have unannounced bursts of the most wonderful ideas, when you can’t sleep until it’s out of your head and becomes real it’s difficult to get up and crack on with what the world, partners and workplaces need from you. It’s exhausting mentally. I have come to love the moods that bring me the most wonderful ideas, like my dyslexia it’s a gift not a burden. I simply work differently and I thank whatever is up there for it everyday.
I used to think getting on a film or having something published would be the fresh fruit being ate by a happy child, now I know that my happiness comes from the fight to get my head in/on to something. It really is as simple as that. I feel truly content when I read a story of mine to my nephew. I feel like the world can’t touch me when I’m drawing, writing or making something I feel, it’s meditative. My time to fuel my ideas is like blood to a body, it is needed and vital. My whole self had been compromised for years and now I know the value of what I have and what I have given to businesses and what I have lost in myself. I’ve just said “given” with retrospect I honestly believe the word “stolen” is more appropriate. The companies I have worked for have unashamedly adorned a stripy sweater and burgled from my mind under the guise of security and financial gain. Both money and security never came, couldn’t even get a few pennies extra a year when I asked.
I have needed nothing more or nothing less, than time. Time is being stolen from our artists and it’s diabolical. All will suffer if art doesn’t have time to grow from seed to tree. The fight within an artist is great but not infinite. I have created two feature screenplays, children’s books, performed my own theatre, acted on television, created a graphic novel, made music, made headdresses and all the while worked full time (plus). Burn out point is a place I never thought I’d reach, how wrong I was? It is impossible to do everything and also unfair. Minds need to be explored by their linked bodies.
I am an active description, I decided to try and do it “normally” and the fight from within has been the victor. Now I work for myself and I make my day job the art it is and should always have been all the while moving forward with my other arts. I’m doing it for my nephews and niece. They need to have money, just in case they are an artist. I’ll be happy to be nepotistic then because with tories in power that’s what our young need. I’m happy to be the biggest contradiction in ten years. I’ll be the uncle that gives them all they need to succeed. It’s not right but it is necessary now.
The fraudulent “artist” seeps through social media and business. Every time you don’t get credited, each time an employer claims your creation as there own, when someone claims design to be art, when a lie is published bleh bleh blah! The one saving grace when you are honestly an artist is that you don’t really care. I honestly feel completely unthreatened by these people and I never have felt threatened by them because by the time they copy I’m on to the next thing. IDEAS!!! If you have them the “inspired” (being nice) will never compete. Ask them to show you their work, their screenplay, novel, song, painting and as they push thin air across the table get yours ready. I’m happy to show each and every one of those listed things to anyone, it’s all there! Because at the end of the day
I MAKE MY OWN SHIT! (Vulgar? Hope so). My work doesn’t come from anywhere else than what’s between my ears, it always has and it always will. Those insulted by this and those who don’t agree good luck to you but those who agree, let’s stick together as you are the artists and they aren’t.
Give your talents to other artists and not to company’s who refuse to value it. Be brave and say good bye when necessary even though you have to be brave beyond words. I have and I’ve never been happier to show the back of my head as i walk away (in slow mo with a sunset).
I’m going to continue, with more freedom than ever, (a freedom I’ve earned) to make my ideas be resurrected from my head with the knowing that money has to be made for the future artists. I’m so lucky to call the shots now because my business is now another art of mine and this is because I now call the shots. My families next generation will not go through the struggle I have had to. It is completely ok to expect monetary gain from your artistic mind, no matter how dis valued the modern world and business makes it.
“The reality is having the choice of complacency or the choice to devour your minds need. The need for the mind to be able to run wild, the need for it to divulge its inner hunger. The hunger to MAKE”.