Please forgive me, this post may be a bit rambling. I have indulged in my weakness for my favorite beverage tonight and that will probably effect my writing. But here goes, I hope you can make this journey with me.
I am an artist. This is a statement that may seem to be of great importance or it may just seem pretentious and self serving, both views are equally valid. The thing is that it took me a long time to be willing to say this, to admit this, to put this label on myself.
I have been fascinated by photography for a long time. It fits me. I am not a painter, I can't put what my mind sees down on a piece of paper or a canvas with a paint brush, I can't reproduce my thoughts with a pencil. But with a camera I can take what is in my mind and what my eyes find themselves drawn to and reproduce it in a form that others can see. This is wonderful and frightening because I have no idea how my thoughts and visions will be received. In the images I produce I am turning myself inside out and putting myself on display. You see all my talents and all my faults, all my insanity and all my rationality printed out on a piece of paper or presented on a screen. I am laid bare, I am naked in a way that taking all of my clothes off does not expose. I put myself out there as vulnerable and open as it is possible, at that moment, for me to be.
My images come from serious thought about science and rationality and how to represent these concepts in a digestible way. Most of the time I fail, not because I am wrong but because I am distracted. Distracted by the world, both inside and outside of my mind. I am a victim of my own perception and my inability to fully understand how the rest of the world perceives the world. When I see the color red I have no way of knowing if it is the same way that you see the color red. That prevents me from succeeding and gives me the drive and reason to keep trying. We do not live in a world, we live in a mass of interconnected worlds. All related but none identical.
This is why I hate being an artist, because I will always fail to achieve the goals I set for myself. It is also why I have no choice in what I am. I am an artist and I can't be anything else. My mind is only concerned with your mind, even if I have no idea who you are, my eyes only exist to explore what your eyes see, even if I will never know what that is.
I am currently working on an exhibit of my photographs that will be on display for just a few hours. I like that. What we all see is very temporary, it only seems fitting that my images will be on display for just a few hours. After this they will vanish, at least they will vanish for most people. A few will make my visions a permanent part of their world by purchasing my images or by searching them out on the internet. My images will become zombies, they will be neither dead nor alive. They will be undead and they will exist on paper, as digital files, and in a few people's minds, maybe feeding on them.
Art is not easy, this is why we aren't all successful artists. I remember being in an art museum and hearing someone say "I could do that" as they looked at a painting. They probably could, but many would say their ability doesn't matter, what matters is that they didn't do it. I disagree, the difference is that they weren't courageous enough to do it. They weren't willing to be critiqued, to hear the disparaging remarks. Or maybe they weren't willing to hear the compliments? Maybe they weren't willing to take the risk to try and feed their souls and stomachs by producing something that has no intrinsic value. Art can't protect you from the weather, it normally won't feed you, art rarely will put a roof over your head, but artists have no other choice, they have to do what they do, damn the consequences.
I am an artist, I finally had to admit it to myself. I didn't choose it, I am not sure that I want it, my value as a person is linked to how others perceive me and my work. I just hope that I don't waste who I am, I hope at least a few see value in what I do. I hope I am not a waste of oxygen. I am an artist. I hope I survive it.
If you are in the Nashville area I invite you to come see my work, to see me that I can't express any other way.
Beautiful and Banal; Exploring the How and What of seeing