When I was 13 or 14 years old, I began exploring surrealist art. I didn't know
I was being a surrealist; I was not consciously juxtaposing contradictory
visual elements or creating dreamscapes. I was simply letting an idea take over
me and flow onto the canvas. I'd start building on it, accepting anything that
came along and discarding what I no longer wanted.
I was not over-analyzing the purpose of the piece, nor wondering how the
work was significant in relation to the "fine art world", nor was I worrying
about writing up a statement to explain it. I was just a teenager painting and
drawing. It was a worry-free process, and I loved it.
Don't get me wrong: I cared about what I was doing. I was fully invested
emotionally in each of my paintings, feeling happy when things were going well
and on the verge of tears (or actually crying) when they weren't. I knew very
well which emotions were driving my ideas and what story I was trying to tell;
I knew what the painting meant to me personally and why the work mattered so
much to me.
But I didn't quite mind whether others saw exactly what I saw or interpreted
the work the way I did. I just hoped that whoever looked at my paintings would
want to spend time with them, trying to figure out what it meant to THEM. What mattered was my desire to reach out and share my love and passion for art. Of course, anyone was more than welcome to try to uncover my intentions, but I was not concerned
with how accurate their interpretations were. Simply put: if they spent time
with my work and enjoyed it, I was happy. I was a fulfilled artist.
I continued to paint this way through my teenage years. At 17 or 18 I knew that my art could be considered surrealist art. I was in love with painting and drawing. I knew that I wanted to go on to study art in college and learn everything I could to become a better artist. My goal in life was to create art. I was passionate about it and believed in it fully.
Before I go on, allow me to say this: studying art for four years in college
was one of the greatest experiences in my life; I would not have had it any
other way. However, somewhere down the line the education I sought, along with
my tendency to over-think and over-analyze almost everything, became my own
worst enemy. I so desperately wanted to fit in with the art world, tell
everyone why my work was so important and why the eff they should care. I
struggled with my words as I tried to explain the inner workings of my mind,
but every time I attempted to express my intentions I failed. I got lost in my
own attempt to justify my work. My desire to fit in and be accepted became a
wall that stunted my creativity. I was trying too hard and lost my inspiration
--and my passion seemed to fade with it. I had lost touch with that freedom I
felt in creating art.
Lately, I have felt that freedom coming back to me. I created my most recent
paintings without worrying about WHY, without thinking about how the fuck I
would write up an artist statement explaining or justifying anything. Once
again, I simply let myself go and paint. Emotions and ideas hit me and I run
with them, letting them guide me through the whole process of creating art. I
know what is driving my ideas, and know the story that is unfolding on the
canvas. I know these paintings are important to me. I am painting for me and loving it. I have not felt this good about my work in a long, long time. I am once again passionate about creating art, and I am happy.
Once again, I am free.