People like secrets. Creative people really like secrets.
Meet Luis, Keeper of Secrets.
When I was younger, I took a Psychology in Art class. There were universal shapes that were often drawn by children of the same age around the world. Then there were drawings that helped children without the words to articulate their feels who would draw their family members. Some of the more dominant individuals in the family were drawn bigger. There was something to be said about the proximity of each family member from the others. And then, there were illustrations of self-portraits that were somewhat angular with no eyes or no hands, maybe a home with no doors. Those were the parts that we, as students, were asked to pay special attention. They might be indicative of something that the child felt he or she was unable to express. No ears, eyes or mouth could mean, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. It’s a bit speculative though.
I tend to draw a lot of faceless people. I’m not sure if this indicates anything in particular psychologically or if it’s just my own artistic inclinations. I guess I wonder from where our own inspiration comes. Is it our psyche speaking up? Maybe I should try a Jungian analysis of my artwork and see if there are any female archetypes represented here.
The process of creating seems somewhat like a waking dream, I guess. Maybe that’s why so many creative types often feel like a vessel of some unknown creative spirit rather than assume complete conscious control over what is put down on paper. Where do you think your creative inspiration comes from? Anyone know any books about this subject? Will have to do some research on it. My favorite book is Shadows Bright As Glass by Amy Ellis Nut about an individual named Jon Sarkin who became this creative prodigy after experiencing brain trauma. His personality changed and he just felt an overwhelming need to create constantly. It makes me wonder if creativity is biochemical or from the part of the subconscious responsible for dreams. Maybe it’s from our experiences or all of it combined. Anyway, it’s a great book and it’s worth a read. Here’s a NY Times review by Abigal Zuger, M.D.
So, yeah. Here’s my drawing. Pointilism with a micron pen. Happy Doodling!
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
-T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
My sister requested a reset button for her vacation. I wish I could do the same for my weekend. Too many complications, arguments with loved ones, self-doubt, and add to that, random cantankerous strangers on the streets of Brooklyn who occasionally like to chime in with something resembling a put down. It’s that kind of a weekend. Having one of those days where I felt like my life was missing purpose.
So, I stormed out of my tiny apartment in search for a place that felt nurturing for breakfast and found myself at Primrose Cafe in Clinton Hill for tea. Under a brownstone, this small place has a feeling like you are visiting your grandmother’s house, complete with board games, garden seating in the back, and pretty shabby chic décor that set the right tone for my doodling and some comforting hot Earl Grey tea. I drew some real nonsense for a while until I got it out of my system. Maybe not solving all my problems, but certainly felt safe to just be.
It’s important to self-nurture. There are a lot of opinions that float out there about people’s worth or value. It’s easy to slip into a dark place of feeling worthless and powerless to change everything. I suppose these napkins are worthless since they no longer do their job of cleaning up messes since I’ve drawn on them. However, to me and maybe to a few people who enjoy them, they are worth considering. It’s all perspective in how we choose see any given situation.
So after tea, I took a short walk to a community garden. It used to be an abandoned lot, worthless. The people in the community felt this tiny piece of land was worth something to their garden and their art. Here’s a couple of pics of it…
These flowers aren’t solving world hunger but, certainly, they are not worthless to someone like me who needs a place to sit, be, and breathe in a nurturing place. Anyway, that’s my rant for the day. Just try to remember, your sheer existence is worth it to someone who might be sitting nearby you. Not everyone can be the beacon of hope to the world but your energy adds to everyone else’s life experience. Try to keep positive…or just doodle something crazy for your waiter or waitress. Peace!
This is a quick self-portrait sketch because all potential artists need one, I guess. When I did this one, I had bangs and looked a bit serious, I suppose. I’m guessing it was a Monday because I’m not the biggest fan of Mondays, in general. I was told by a Pratt University graduate admissions person that this looked ‘dark’. I wasn’t sure if she meant the medium (which was a pretty dark pencil) or that the general mood of it was dark. Either way, I bravely shared my sketch that I thought captured my essence. That interview into the Art Therapy program put me on the wait list for a full year until, out of nowhere, I was being reconsidered again. Going through the admissions process the first time is a tremendous amount of work (a new portfolio?) and anxiety producing. I could not bring myself to do it a second time and opted not to do it. Who knows if it was the right decision but I’m sure I just saved myself $80,000 considering that career would not pay nearly that much a year. Closed one door, so maybe another might open. Time will tell.
Wonked out with a stomach flu! Yay me. Poured a glass of ginger ale, broke out the saltines, and doodled on a napkin provided by Smash Burger’s delivery guy while I decided whether I was ready to digest a grilled turkey burger yet. Here is Urp…not to be confused with burp.
Trying my hardest to find something whimsical in my current physical state. It would be much more fun to believe that my stomach has been mistaken for Earth by a tiny alien named Urp, who made plans to invade and attack without realizing his mistake and my stomach’s misfortune. With enough Ginger Ale, Urp can be burped out of my stomach and go back into space where he belongs. Alas, Urp is not real and it really is just a stomach flu.
Reality can bum you out sometimes so I think it’s important to foster a healthy imagination. In fact, one of my favorite live action shorts won an Oscar for that theme. It’s a movie from Denmark called Helium by Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson. The boy in the story has a terminal illness and he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a custodian. The custodian helps the boy use his imagination to conjure a magical afterlife that doesn’t seem boring or too scary. It gives him hope and peace. I caught all the Oscar nominated live action shorts at BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and this was my favorite.
Last year’s Oscar award winning documentary, Inocente, caught my attention as well for the same reason I love the short, Helium. It’s about a girl named Inocente who was an undocumented homeless teen who had dealt with domestic violence when she was a small child but found an ARTS program that supported her vast imagination. Art was a way for her to escape the pain of her reality and create some joy with bright colors and whimsical creatures. She created a space within her imagination where she could be a child and play even though her reality didn’t seem to really allow her that opportunity. Currently, she’s preparing to do a show in NYC for May 12 (reception on May 15th) but she hasn’t revealed when or where yet. I’d like to go. Her paintings are nurturing for everyone’s inner child when you need the world to be sweet, innocent, and fun.
I’m sure there are countless artists who used art as an escape from a harsh reality. It’s a fabulous coping mechanism but, lest I stereotype all artists, not the only reason one creates. We create because we are not robots. We create anything because people need room to express their individuality, their humanity, and maybe there’s something spiritual in all of this too. We create because it gives us purpose. When we create, so might others and so on…and then, humanity wins!
Anyway, I think I’ve got Urp out of my system. CREATE!!!!