Sunday, January 18, 2015

On the Art of. . . Art

Why is it such a chore to create a piece of art? It is something that everyone aspires to do but you find so many people who seem to be content with using the artist's title as a status symbol or identifier rather than anything truly productive. But then there are the people that actually do try to give life to the ideas that fill their heads, only to be confronted with paralysis when they think about the possibility of their art not being adequate. Or they simply just don't know where to start. You can outline and plan structures all you want but sometimes the natural reaction to the possibility of doing anything at all is to do nothing. Why do you think I still go to record stores when every album that has ever been made is right here ready to be downloaded?

No one likes a Magical Barefoot Poser, Mr. Duck
I have been guilty of both approaches, which one more so seems to depend on which medium I am working with at the time. Thankfully I am consistent with my music writing and band affairs, but it's been a year or two since I seriously addressed my fiction and even longer since I tried to get some honest to God drawing done. There is something to be said for fluctuating interests but sometimes I think it has more to do with being afraid of churning out a bunch of crap. But why?

I don't want to say that I didn't have great expectations for myself when I was younger but I still enjoyed writing or drawing even when I was at my most miserable or if the end result wasn't what I wanted. I spent many hours as a teenager composing hundreds of lyrics not knowing where they would end up as the albums that inspired them played endlessly in the background. I actually have used a few of them as an adult and have plans for a couple others; the rest are in the landfill a few feet away from where they found those old Atari games.

And a shit-ton of Vogon poetry
I don't think I ever expected to become famous then and there, but that didn't stop me from giving the entirety of my junior high school experience to the comics I was drawing back then. Sure, I can judge plenty of it and rule it as either good or crap (Or apparently both, as my roommate thinks my old comics are masterpieces of adolescent surrealism), but should I really base what I make in the present or future on how I or someone else will see it?

Art is something that should be made for its own sake with no expectations or regards for any temporal context. Even if you are one of the lucky bastards who has actual people expecting a certain quality from each piece you create, not every piece should be created with their conceptions in mind. Even if the piece you make will never used beyond its composition, the process of making it was still more rewarding and exhilarating than refreshing your Facebook feed for the tenth time in two minutes would be. It would've been nice to have friends to hang out with back then but I don't regret the time I spent in that spiral notebook madness. Your mind sees it as work and you will be exhausted by the end of it, but the feeling you'll have in your head and fingers will be not unlike the best sex you've ever had.

I shouldn't make too many promises but I really do need to create more, even if it's just making random posts like this one when my brain won't shut up. I need to be free of the paralysis that everyone faces and do just everything without the fear of how it will be perceived. Even in the likely event that no one will give a shit about the album that my band is set to release this spring, it will still be there when I die and will still be the greatest thing I've ever done until the next one I'm a part of. It is way more interesting to find a laptop with fifty Word documents full of unpublished fiction than it is to find the same laptop with no files and a soon to be deleted browsing history. Of course, this is also being published on my public blog where there is a remote chance of other people seeing it. You decide how much of a hypocrite that makes me.
I will try, Batman. I will try.

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