My work isn't directly about it, but it may be because of it. And in spite of it.
There is a strong connection between pursuing, or not pursuing, a creative life and mental health.
If you pursue it, it can make you crazy. It most likely will.
If you don't pursue it, it will also make you crazy. I think a lot of people don't know why they feel shut down, depressed. I think one reason is because, a long time ago, they gave up on a creative life. They work and drink to fill that void.
When I say creative life, I don't necessarily mean a professional one. I mean one spent cooking at home, taking a dance class, stringing together beads. It could also mean professionally, but more and more, that makes no difference to me in terms of the necessity of the pursuit of it. I love to see people try. Of course, I love to see someone become good at what they do, but I know they will never become good without starting. So I love to see a person begin.
In my life, I have pursued creativity as a profession, and there have been many stages of darkness involved in this process (I know. Dramatic). I'm happy to know that the initial stage is dead and gone- the one where I spun my wheels almost to death, the one where I almost forgot the reason why I create.
I made it over the wall. It's not a question of will I be creative in my life, but in what capacity.
Today... I am feeling stuck. It feels like a struggle between what I want- to create from deep within my soul (blerg)- or to create professionally. I don't know if they can be the same. That question is plaguing me.
And there is a great risk of creating from that place within. It's vulnerable and scary. If it doesn't work out, what else is there? (I realize that is a loaded and personal question. Maybe I will unpack that one later...)
Left to my own devices, what I create isn't that good (You should see my sketchbook). It is creating for others that pushes me toward refinement. I feel like I need that give and take. I can't just make art and hide it away. That is not fair to my work. If it needs others to become better, I need to share it.
But in this process of creating for others, I make things really hard for myself. I squash the ideas and methods that come easy to me. I have subconsciously operated under the notion that if it comes naturally, it must not be good. Where did that even come from? It's such a dadgum sad thought.
I've had to admit it recently. I am the stereotype. I am an artist that struggles internally- deeply. Recently there is a steady voice that keeps whispering to make things easier on myself. But pursuing what comes naturally to me feels scarier than not. At least to take that first step. It's going to be a war all the way. And for me, a lot of hours. Hours and hours of work.
This blog post is obviously a step toward it, so there's that. (please, no applause)
Here is what I am thinking through:
What do I want to do?
How will I find the resources to do it?
What is in my heart to share? Am I willing to share it?
To whom will I share it with?
To what extent does it matter what other people want? Can I make artwork and be content if it never sells? If it never sells, in what capacity will I share it? What does that even look like?