Monday, May 30, 2011

personal challenge

I am the first to admit that I'm not bursting with original ideas. Up until recently, that hasn't bothered me all that much. I've been comfortable with the idea that gaining inspiration from others' ideas and then making them my own is not only a valid way to approach the making of art, but a good one. I'm starting to question... rethink... desire something more of myself. I'm getting to a point where I want to be more like my heros, who are originals, and not merely worship them.

There was a scene toward the end of the series "Extras " in which Ricky G. character, after being relentlessly unsatisfied with his agent's ability to deliver for years, was asked something akin to Do you want to be famous or do you want to be an artist? To which Ricky's character replied that he wanted both. Ah, but only the rare, truly gifted, lucky few gain that status was the agent's reply. (all of this paraphrased by a faulty memory)

It's an interesting question, don't you think? What's more important, to be loved or respected; to be popular or authentic (if the two should happen to oppose each other); to be in the spotlight no matter the cost or reason, or to be quietly content in one's own skin.

This conundrum has stuck with me, for years, rolling around in the back of my mind for an unknown reason.

It's not that I've ever craved fame. In all honesty being famous seems like an awful way to live. I like that my life is small in many respects, and I like things to move slowly, whenever possible. But, when I think of being famous in the broader context of being seen or known as an artist, it takes on new meaning. I don't want or need to be famous or popular by any standards, but every little bit of notice my work gets has a powerful and deep effect on me.

And it isn't that I need the positive feedback, though that is always bolstering and inspiring. What I need and want more than anything is feedback at all.

And, I'm just getting this as I type, because it was a question in my mind... why do I feel the need to put my work out there? And now I know...

I just want to know what people think. Good or bad. As long as it's honest and thoughtful, I'd be happy about it.

So, I stumble along with a blog (which really is more about therapy for my soul) and my flickr stream, and my etsy store, hoping for a crumble of feedback, not knowing any better way. And when the etsy purchases don't come, when the flickr and blog comments are few and far between, I question myself. Is my work really so non-compelling, so mediocre, so derivative, that it inspires little response? Or, is it merely that I'm not as popular as others because of my quiet ways, my small life, my humility and shyness?

So much to ponder. Seeking clarity will continue, always.


alsokaizen said...

I can speak only for myself... I read your blog because you seem so similar to me, I struggle with many of the same questions and yet I have no answers, the questions themselves compel me to stay present, the lack of answers keep me silent
and your photos feed my spirit
those grapefruit are voluptuous(sp?) and a bit mysterious.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Hi Rachel,
Your questioning reminds of a (small) epiphany I had when I was a student and taking drama as part of my studies. I realized I preferred directing to acting and part of the reason was I enjoyed the respect of my peers rather more than the on campus "celebrity" status of the acting. I think that preference has carried over into my real life as well. I take pleasure from the respect of those whose work I respect - not from any popularity contest. I guess in that way my world is a smaller, more modest one as well. I've realized I like it that way.

As for feedback on your work, I have no doubt many admire even if they don't speak up. :)

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Ah, Rachel...the eternal struggle of an artist. Like you, I blog for comments as well. Blogging is my creative outlet and nice comments are always sought after. Please excuse me for not commenting enough - it's important. You are an amazing talent. Likewise, no answers for you but at least I understand ... and hope that's enough.