Sep 13, 2010

From the Archive of my Youth

Strange and wonderful things are happening to me lately. It is as if there is a gnome inside my head who suddenly woke up and decided it was time to clear the place out. I feel like I can focus more, and be disciplined with my time without being inhumanely ambitious. 

I also feel a complete loss of mystique about being an artist. This is wonderful. I don’t feel like I have to be on the edge to be legit and I don’t feel like a pipe dreamer for wanting to make a living at it. It seems perfectly natural now that I should want my livelihood to come from the things that I do well and enjoy. Everyone should have that. I used to think it was a choice to be an artist, that I had romanticized it and was looking for fame and escape from responsibility more than a legitimate field of work. I do alright at my current jobs, but I don’t use up the entirety of my soul while I’m there.

Another lovely realization is how much I love to write and how much  I have to say. I think I finally sense how I can talk about issues that are important to me without feeling like I am being overly righteous or afraid of sharing too much personal information in the wrong place.

I have suddenly come to terms with my 20s, too. For the last few years I’ve really been struggling to accept the choices I made during that time. I seem to think I should have been developing worldly skills, advancing in a career, saving money, finding a mate (or at least having a constant string of amorous lovers.) After I made the commitment to go back to school and follow my passions I felt really disheartened that I had so little in the way of resources to get by with. Now, I look back at my 20s and see what an interesting and rich time it was. I was a nut! I spent my time hiking in the parks, painting enormous paintings in my tiny apartment, writing poems and reading at poetry open-mics, having occasional and ridiculous romances, waking up every morning to do yoga and meditate. What is so wrong with all that? Sure I was lonely and miserable a lot of the time, but I was always trying to find happiness and connection, what more could I ask of myself?

The paintings in this post are all ones I made in during my fateful 20s. They are mostly 3-4 feet wide and 3-5 feet long, tempera on banner paper. I like the idea of posting more of my old work to appreciate how I spent my time during that decade, to see it as the precursor to the work I'm doing now rather than a waste of time.

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