On Surviving Through the Colors of Art, or Constant Creations

(Philip Guston)

I’ve been writing since I understood myself as a person — or, to escape from this abstract rhetoric, I’ve been writting since I learned how to write at the age of four. I began to publish in adolescence, and after some time feeling discredited with all things in life, I decided to listen to the advice of Hemingway and of a beloved university professor — I’m writing daily now. But I don’t do it with any intention other than writing, just writing — I don’t spend too much time thinking about what I write, nor setting rules as I write, not even thinking about what’s going out of my mind directly to this document in the notebook. It’s a proprioceptive act — I see the words coming out of my mind, but not before they become complete phrases, as if a tangle of letters that could give me the realization of some meaning is formed and, as I write and these letters line up, I realize that I really already knew what I was going to write, even though I didn’t think exactly about it. This is how I see the stream of consciousness: our consciousness speaks before we write, but it only makes sense after we write.

With the difference that, nowadays, I believe that it’s almost impossible for some artistic manifestation to shock us as the libertine and sadistic writings of a generation once shocked people, as some art theorists say, I agree that we no longer create — we just re-create, reinvent, give our colors to drawings that already exist, we modify some forms of what had already been exteriorized. Not to say that there is no originality, it’s just that, in the end, we are all the same and someone has lived a romance as torrid and ardent as the one you and I lived (or will live) one day and that we try to put it on paper (or on screen, or on film). This doesn’t scare me, the idea that someone on the other side of the world is propbably thinking the same thing I am now (that I am hungry and at the same time I want to read a book that I just bought online and will only be in my hands a few weeks from now, which only makes my hunger worse, does anyone else feel it too? This crazy urge to read a new book resembles a wild desire that comes out of the stomach but is not really hunger, although it seems that I will literally eat the book when I put my hands on it… Ah, the real pleasure of reading! I am not the only crazy bibliophile in this world, I know). On the contrary, knowing that there is an invisible and difficult to be felt connection, unimaginable in its own conception, between my thoughts, from the strangest to the simplest ones, and those of someone who is also lost out there, makes me feel less alone in the solitude that I prefer. I speak so much of selfishness, but my own egocentrism tells me that this is a humble attitude of mine — to accept to share who I am with a stranger. I accept it: still we’re not the same flesh, not even the same cognitive beings, but I can share a part of me with you, no problem.

Sometimes the very idea of ​​”art” impresses me. The idea that our minds work in a way to create (or recreate, as it pleases you) things, and that these things have innumerable interpretations, but only a true one — that of the artist, but that, if possible, should stay a secret, allowing us to be the owners of the other various analyzes, is the real meaning of “mind blown” for me; the more I investigate, study, question our varied mechanisms of dealing with art, the closer I come to identifying the point of wonders that we as humans are. Art is man’s challenge to mortality — a challenge we both win and lose, but that only us humans are capable of setting its limits or its limitlessness. As I said, at least personally, nothing today can shock me as an artistic expression; what really scares me is the realization that we have not learned anything from our stories, which have become fictions, and that happen again and again in real life. The video of that boy crying in the middle of the war is not art, but I am shocked to know that it already became art. The representation of the consequences of humanity’s evilness, the pain that the boy’s parents are feeling transformed into poetry, a cartoon that goes viral on the internet, whatever it is — I wish that none of these arts existed. But they exist, and so it will be as long as we exist as well.

Our personal purposes don’t matter — we all write to survive. We all make art to survive. I know I survive outside this computer screen, but my mind only survives because I throw out all the storm in it, in the form of writing. And I never intend to cause storms with what I write (with what I do, speak, or think) — I’m glad to know that I can keep peace in the midst of all these words, of so many words. It is a peace like the one that is transmitted to the observer of The Scream — there’s nothing peaceful about this painting de facto, but when we realize that someone, somewhere, was able to capture an emotion common to so many people, and when we see such emotion in a mixture of unique colors, we feel at home: again, I’m not the only one crazy in this world, and neither are you.

I realize that I solve my conflicts with humanity when I see I’m as conflicted as the rest of the world — the difference is that my ego requires no bomb to assert itself. On the contrary, I try to get all the bombs out of my hands before they explode — before I explode, end up hurting the people I love and, in the end, create an eternal pain that is unique and exclusive to me.