Is there a good kind..? I often struggle with that question…
When I was growing up, getting attention was never a good thing.
It meant I’d done something that would draw my sister to my side, and then I knew I was in trouble.
It meant I’d done something that took people from my mother’s circle of fawning light, dimming hers while mine shone for just a moment. Never a good thing.
It meant that pain would soon follow and I was tired of pain.
Doing anything that would bring people toward me was simply not something I sought. And yet…
As artists, we all crave attention…
Whether through our words or our scratches on paper or our images captured and stolen from the ether and preserved for all time in a cloud of ambiguous worth. With a craving that cannot be defined, we toil away with paper and pen, mud and water mixing to create multicolored facets of the world as we see it.
We want someone to see us. Really see us.
An artist is a unique creature. And it doesn’t matter what kind of artist you are… we are the SAME. We frequently live in a bubble of our own creation, and while we desperately want someone to notice us? We also fear it with a heart pounding intensity that would sear the average person.
But we are not average. We seek greatness. We desire infinity. We hope for recognition of our genius.
Some say we’re just silly. Others say we’re delusional. The work simply isn’t THAT good…!
Who do you think you are? Hemingway? Steinbeck? Rembrandt??
I am none of those things. I am only me. ME.
I work in an environment full of visual artists. Sculptors. Painters. People who can see an object and recreate it using only a piece of lead and paper. In line, tone, value and hue. See a vision and make it appear in front of you in 3D.
They are artists. But, they’re losing their artistry.
The essence of an artist is to express themselves, and where I work, there is no expression allowed. We are required to use our skills, and our talents, to create something that is designed by another. It’s a living. We have no say in how it shall be finished. We have no say in the design, and minimal say in the execution. It’s both understandable and sickening.
Understandable because it is HIS name on the final product, as it was HIS design in the first place.
But without the use of our skill and artistry, the design would never see fruition, so we are used as the tool… the paintbrush for the painter… the developing fluid for the photographer… the chisel for the sculptor… the knife for the carver. And it steals a little bit of our artistry every time we pick up a brush, or process that photo, or wield that chisel or handle that knife. Like a leech it steals a little bit of our soul.
So, what do we do to counteract the leech, also known as the “day-job”…?
Some of us opt only to do certain tasks…
No painting for me! Just color mixing.
No color mixing for me! Just painting.
I’ll do office work!
I’ll handle the production machines!
I can cut the paper!
And so it goes…
Until we find a way to express our unique selves… Until someone hears OUR voice… our song… We are left alone and bereft.