Fighting Against the Abyss

The Second Friday art show at The Walnut Gallery went superbly well! It was so nice having work up on the walls of a gallery again, and it was equally nice spending time just hanging out in a gallery.

A friend of mine and I spent the evening strolling through the gallery and talking about the different pieces, what we liked, what we didn’t like… it was a lovely way to spend a Friday evening. More so after the fact, because I came home rejuvenated and eager to work. I have a couple of canvases in various stages of completion, not quite ready to be quilled on, but getting close… if I can figure out how I want to proceed.

Looking at those canvases with fresh eyes, and a fresh perspective, I decided to throw caution to the wind and take some risks with the paintings. It’s one of the most nerve wracking things an artist can do… take a piece  that you’re mostly happy with and decide it needs something “more”.

Please God, don’t let me fuck this up!

That is the mantra that’s running through my head as I mix up a batch of white paint that I’m intending on splashing across the surface of a canvas. 

Of course, as I’m mixing my paint and psyching myself up to actually apply it to the painting, I’m also thinking about how much fear plays a role in my work.

On the surface, there’s the fear or making a mistake… of fucking things up. Then there’s the fear that by making a mistake, I’ll have ruined the piece. Or I won’t make a mistake, but no one will like what I’ve done… Why did you add that swath of white? The piece would be so much better without it.

Then, diving deeper, what if people don’t like it at all. What if they don’t like my work? What if they don’t like me? What if I really am absolute shit as an artist?

You can see the spiral starting…

Then we get to the heart of things… the real absolute terror that I think lives in all of us…

What if nobody cares.

As an artist, I put little bits of my soul onto canvas. Deeply personal bits, that most people keep hidden away, I intwine amid brush strokes of color, texture, imagery, metaphor, symbolism,  and more. Holding up a window into the deepest recesses of my self, hoping beyond hope not to get ripped to shreds in the process but hoping even more to be seen. 

For me, the biggest fear isn’t so much that people will hate my work… I’d rather they like and enjoy my work, but I’ll take hate too… the biggest fear is that with all my screaming out into the void, no one will care enough to even glance my way. 

There’s so much noise in the world, everyone screaming their hearts and souls into the void, desperate for someone… anyone… to hear them, to acknowledge their existence, their pain, their suffering. And only those people who go to the extreme seem to cut through the din. Those people who go bigger, louder, messier, splashier… not caring if people like what they have to say, just that they listen at all. Worried that if no one sees them at all, do they even exist?

Every time I paint, write, share my work, there is in the back of my mind the question and fear that it’s all for naught… that one one ever really cares. It can so easily overwhelm me, keep me from even trying… and there are times that fear succeeds. 

What’s the point?

For me, the point is in the process. That every time I pick up my brush, I face that fear head on. And even if no one out there in the world cares one lick about anything I have to say, it’s the act of saying it that matters. 

So, I mixed my paint, and added the white to the canvas. Did I fuck things up? I have no idea… Ask me when the journey is done.

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