Being an artist and making art are not the same. I have made art ever since I can remember. I love making art. I love drawing and painting and sculpture and printmaking. I love materials, textures, color, art techniques, and art supply stores. I love to look at art and to read about art and to study art of many cultures, many places, and in many periods of history.
There is so much to know about art, so much to learn. I love thinking about what art is and how it both defines and becomes redefined by every generation. I love how art builds upon its own history as artists stand on the shoulders of the artists who have gone before them. I love thinking about the evolution of art and tracing that evolution back to the origins of the human species. I feel connected through art.
What I am discovering in this period of my life is that there is a huge difference between making art and being an artist. When I had a full-time job, I did not have much spare time to do my art work. I am admitting to myself that for most of my life, I made art – and this is hard to say – more as a hobbyist than an artist. Now however, I do have time, and my art is changing. I am thinking deeply about visual language. I am considering what is unique about me and how that uniqueness makes my art different from anyone else’s. I am thinking about my voice and tapping into levels of myself that I didn’t know I had.
It is not easy to be authentic in one’s art. What is easy is to develop a style or use a technique that is tried and true. It is easy to make art that is appealing to viewers, especially if one is making representational images. It is also easy to make decorative art, which is pleasing to the eye. However, I don’t want that. I want my art to be from my soul, which I know is connected to the universe.
I love the words of John Cage, who said: “When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there. But as you continue working, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.”