Let me introduce you to the man behind the curtain. As a mixed media artists who aspires to being discovered and successful there are a few "flying monkeys" or demons of deception of my own I must embrace. The one that flutters about the most is the one of self doubt. I alluded to this in an earlier post. When I look in the mixed media publications and see all the artists there. The glossy well lit images make me wonder if I will ever be good enough to be included among their pages. It's like a ladder I must climb but I cannot even see the first wrung. I hear the positive feedback from my customers and colleagues and have slowly supposed I am an artist. In my years of creating I'd always be compared to someone more famous, there was Martha Stewart in the beginning before her fall from grace, during my home decorating days. Then Tim Holtz when I moved into the mixed media arena, a natural comparison I guess. I have never met either of these mentors or celebrities with their devotees, and I give them props for their sustainability and presence among the paparazzi, however I seek my own path. Even the pictorial papers I use tie me to a certain company or brand of which I must float above. I want my art to have its own voice, and capture you for its uniqueness.
Another that swarms around in my mind is the fact that I am a messy artists. I am a bull in a china shoppe and need to be bubble wrapped when it comes to my clumsiness. At any given time in my studio there are open bottles of paint, next to packets of metals embellishments, a tube of Weldbond my go-to universal adhesive, a stack of brushes both wet and dry depending on the technique I am trying, jars of gels, and a menagerie of other necessities. A cyclone of creativity, a thunderstorm of thought, a tsunami of techniques, an earthquake of expectations, a hurricane of hope, all these natural disasters may be found in my studio at any given moment. From the beginning of the business I tried to do pretty and pristine but that is not what excited my clients. They were more intrigued by the messier more chaotic creations of my artistic aesthetic...which I sometimes describe as controlled chaos or eclectic enchantment. My art is a perfect union of form and function. From the madness that is me has escaped some outstanding pieces of art.
A close cousin of the aforementioned is what some may call ADHD or shiny syndrome. A friend recently posted this on her Facebook page, "My brain is like an Internet Browser with 17 tabs open, 9 of them not responding, thousands of pop-ups, and where is that annoying music coming from?" It made me chuckle as it so aptly represents my artist brain. I never know where my art will take me. I have no clear destination in mind; the materials manipulate me and entice me down their long dark corridors. As I journey on I may pass a room that entices me to try a new novel procedure or another that reminds me of my tried and true techniques. Often my art begins as a thought like one of those themed rooms in some hotels. Then half way down the passageway I may become distracted by an adornment I notice, a crystal from a sconce, rust from an unkempt metal table, glitter glistening from the ceiling, a scent from a flickering candle, or numerous other lovely distractions. Somehow I meander through the labyrinth process and emerge with what will be.
But as in many a labyrinths the path will suddenly turn outward, seemly leading me away from the inner center goal. I sometimes come to a point in my art where I absolutely hate it. The colors are not as I imagined, they've become muddied in my impatience of add multitude layers before the bottom one has dried sufficiently. Maybe, the product has not worked as it was preached upon Pinterest. The struggle is real, I am on the list of hilarious top 20 DIY Fails. I love the pictures that show what we imagine next to what actually is. In my mind's eye I know what I want my art to look like, as a finished presentable piece so I am disenchanted when I am staring at the ugly duckling and I have no way of knowing its truer self. Discouragement is a demon which destroys many of an artist's dreams. It's hard to carry on as your perceived failures pile up around you. I want to be one of those artists that is not remembered best after their passing. This is when my life partner will quietly give this sage advice, "Step away, give it time, then look at it through new eyes later. Work on something else."
As I pursue this blog, anticipating adding tutorials of some of my projects and proven techniques, I battle against my organic nature. I am undisciplined and eclectic by fault. I have never imagined a project from start to completion. I will be forcing myself to tame my wild horse and take baby steps. I will need to keep track of the products I am using, to be mindful of the layers that give many of my works their vintage, worn appeal. My training as a teacher will hopefully allow me to be successful as many of lesson plans have done before. I accept the challenge and one day may even release my first ever video tutorial, it would be my maiden voyage into the land of YouTube. I've watched some tutorials there, and while some are hopeful I find many daunting or deceptive in nature.
As if all these manic monkeys were not enough, this is another of many professions I am choosing that defiles my introverted personality. I am a shy hermit of a man, a homebody deeply rooted, comfortable in my own skin, a seeker of silence who began this strange dualism when I left the comfort of being a dishwasher at Friendly's to becoming one of the first waiters at my local establishment. I liked being a dishwasher, I liked making order out of all the crowded bins brought to me from the waiting staff. I prided myself in my multitasking and efficiency. I was terrified as a waiter, as I am now during parent conferences, or speaking with my superiors, or being a vendor at a heavily trafficked show. I'm exhausted by their enthusiasm, I want to recoil from their recognition, I'm burdened by their blessings, and I collapse from their companionship.
So I battle against these monstrosities and fight against the machine so that I may become by better truer self. There is a song by Grant Lee Buffalo, titled "Demon of Deception" that sooths my soul. Lyrics in part are " I'm in tight with a demon called deception. It's alright he's treated me quite well. I'm in tight with a demon called deception. He's right beside me when I fail. To whisper words like brother nothin' here is any good. And all I wanted was a little patch of green. We're in tight playing seven one night stands and deception made me as I am. Truth is I am in tight. I barely saw the light just as it clicked in, something saved my skin.." So I am going to embrace the discomfort and press on, dislodging from delusions and live what I proclaim. Living a life not lived in fear.