NEW YORK (MindaNews / 16 April) — Still in New York. Our impending show, though small and informal is creating such anxiety. But we know we have to do this. We know that if we had not accepted Bones (as he wants to be called these days) Bañez invitation, we would have regretted it so much that we would be in a worse state of mind. And, we are truly honored that he himself will be curating the show. So much to be thankful for.
Consciously remembering to have a thankful mindset seems to help our general well-being. The degree of anxiety is somehow tamped down and the pills stay in their orange containers. And, telling ourselves that it’s not about us anyway, more than about people and their personal views. Even if these opinions are, or will be based on our art.
Which leads us to the belief that once we put our works out there, we really no longer have control over them. People will see what they see – or read. And, there’s nothing we can do about it. Which, also, sometimes, makes us resist having them seen in public, because we are really never satisfied with what is finished. It’s one of the main reasons why we keep working on it, to maybe, one day, attain that moment of satisfaction at what we have done. But then, again, if the motivation for doing more works is to be able to catch that moment, it would, in fact, at the outset, either liberate us from the need to work more, and thus, not work anymore. Which, if we are really seriously looking at it, will bring us to the end of the line, for the artist in us. A conundrum, no less, on the very reason for the art we produce.
This is all on the book we have been reading lately. Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It’s really a short read. About a hundred and twenty pages only, but so chock full of all the swirling doubts and ‘fears’ we have always had in our head, that it has definitely resonated like a favorite comfort food we turn to when we are either too happy or otherwise. The way we “reward” ourselves when we think we deserve it. In a similar fashion, we find ourself re-reading chapters on those topics we had always thought stemmed from our own internal insecurities. Finding comfort in the fact that it’s not uncommon, and so must be shared by other artists too, actually alleviates our painful self-absorption. Especially when we address the art we produce.
Let me quote, as an example, the beginning paragraph of Chapter IV – Fears About Others.
“Art is often made in abandonment, emerging unbidden in moments of selfless rapport with the materials and ideas we care about. In such moments we leave no space for others. That’s probably as it should be. Art, after all, rarely emerges from committees.”
“But while others’ reactions need not cause problems for the artist, they usually do. The problems arise when we confuse others’ priorities with our own. We carry real and imagined critics with us constantly – …,” and so on… (italics from the book)
These, for us, is a real analysis of how we have always seen our own artmaking. Being able to have these thoughts concretized in the very words we sometimes produce our art with, is an affirmation that we are not as random as we thought we were. And yet, unless we speak of commercial art, we also acknowledge that our being uniquely ourselves, also de-randomizes the very art we produce. Another conundrum, we know, but true too.
This sounds like a person saying yes, then a maybe, or no? What box do we put it in? Is there a box for it? What will contain an abstract, in constant flux? Unlimited.
This book has become, for the moment, our way of deconstructing our own internal flux. We say “for the moment” because we know how something may just be out there that may claim our attention over the present one. And, again, place us in that over-thoughtful mood where we seem to become like a dog that does not want to let go of something in its grasp.
So, today, we remember our lost hat. In the midst of the quiet religious holiday we are experiencing here in New York City, we will let that go, at least. Remind ourself that it was as inconsequential as our meandering rumination on things that are as temporal in nature as are most earthly matters.
And, continue to go with what floats us. Much like this quote (again from Art & Fear…), which we believe must be true, especially for us.
“Artists (like everyone else) have a certain conceptual inertia, a tendency to keep to their own compass heading even as the world itself veers off another direction.” (Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Margot Marfori is an author and visual artist from Davao City. She is currently based in Henderson, Nevada.)