Sunday, June 13, 2010

Can I call myself an artist?

I am by no means a professional photographer, or artist. I have never been commissioned to create anything artistic for anyone. I have never had my work exhibited or published. I have never sold any art for profit, despite having a few of my photographs up for sale on the Internet. I have never received formal training in photography, or art, except a few painting classes I took in high school. I am an unknown, and yet, I define myself as an artist. Why?

I identify myself as an artist because it has been the one most consistent way in which I have related to myself most throughout my life. It was the one identity I felt I could depend on. Before thinking of myself as a sister, or a daughter, or a female, or a student, or as belonging to a particular nation, or ethnic pool, or economic group, or religion, or occupation; before any of these I have always considered myself an artist, first and foremost. It seemed to be synonymous with my nature.

What does it mean to be an artist? For me, it begins and ends with an insistent, utterly unquenchable, nearly compulsive desire to create. Creativity wakes me in the middle of the night and won’t let me rest until I give it my undivided attention. It can make me restless during the day and pull me from my schedule. The urge to create art, as I experience it, is a rebellious one that knows no timelines, or pays any mind to anything else going on around the artist. It seizes the artist with a passion and carries her away to where she can make more art. I equate being an artist with the sheer irresistibility of this force. It is a force which I feel originates within me, yet is simultaneously part of a greater field of being which is beyond me. Perhaps I have always most consistently identified myself as an artist because, in creating art, I feel myself connecting with something beyond temporary designations of self: with a part of my existence that is eternal. At least this is how I experience it.

Just before a work of art emerges from me I feel myself absorbed in a heightened state of sensitivity. Not just sensually, but emotionally. It visually conjures up the image of a dam gate within myself that has been opened, suddenly flooding my imagination with raging rivers of visions, and ideas, colors and shapes; but above all else feelings. My work is always emotionally charged. These emotions are fluid as they move me in my creations, never ceasing to surprise me with the final form they eventually translate themselves into as my art. I become a love-slave to the feelings that move me to create art, as each creation is an inevitable outpour of my heart.

Within the chambers of the artist’s heart (as known to me), is the limitless universe we draw from. Sometimes, in the drawing-out process, I enter into a rhythm that overcomes me at the expense of all else! Forsaking sleep and food, an artist who is caught in the flow of an emerging creation, will know nothing else but the creation before her, or him. The meditation is so absolute, some may relate it to a spiritual experience of sorts. I would like to say that there is even a certain sacredness to the creative process an artist becomes absorbed in when creating.

Art is sacred in the sense that it speaks to the soul, and crosses barriers of time and culture. Art is it’s own language. It is it’s own power. And I believe that art is something, without which, the world would not be as desirable a place to be in as it is today, for art nourishes our spirits. In this sense, perhaps artists, function as reminders of the divine, within us, and all around us. Defined in that manner; don’t we then all have the potential to be artists? I imagine it’s just a matter of what kind of art each of us makes. Thus, through this blog and my art, I hope to inspire others to find the artist within themselves and encourage us all to make more art!

1 comment:

  1. I see everyone as an artist! To be an artist is to create - to create is to communicate - people communicate through visualization and/or sound.
    Davinia Hart x