Saturday, March 13, 2010


In case there might be an uproar for being over the top, let me state that this piece is about conflict. Not conflict in the theatre of humanity but, the quieter conflict that that we all face each day in our hearts, in our heads and in our souls. This is a piece I did, not as a finished work, but as a musing about my own state of being and a way of expressing to myself how I am feeling. Kind of taking my own temperature. The title is of course from the Odyssey, but I decided to give it a twist as the Siren song is usually more personal to us. We all face these conflicts, and as I grow older they seem to be more numerous. I think as artists we experience these conflicts more because our works are so personal to us and it is a huge burden to give up some of this personal connection for commercial concerns. 

Tied to the Mast, Charcoal on paper, 8"x10"

On a recent post by Martha Miller, I commented about how we are affected by our works. Her post was about a portrait she was executing of a family member and she was telling about the emotional investment she had in the piece and I gathered from her words that working on the portrait was a give and take between she and the piece itself. I really feel that each piece we make changes us in either a small or a large way. If for no other reason each piece we make teaches us something about our craft. I was thinking more though that through the intellectual investment in thinking through the composition, the learning about the subject, and the interest in the subject leading to the desire to make the work that it insists it way into our psyche and become an integral part of us changing our world view and the way we interact with the world. As with any exploration, you're a different person at the end of a trek than when you begin. As I stated earlier, this work was intended to affect changes, to think through the internal conflicts between what I have and what I desire, between what I want to accomplish and to what I am limited.

I have a friend whose work is in psychology and social work. She is a proponent of art therapy, mainly journaling for which she leads workshops. She looks at it more as being like a therapy where exploring the issues leads to insights into the journalist's motivations and issues. As we were talking one day she asked my take on it. I told her that it was my experience that when I was stressed or at odds with myself that I became hyper-creative. I attributed this to the self-defense mechanisms we all have ramping up their efforts to fend off the stresses by finding creative ways to combat them. Further, you should be able to tap into this heightened self-defense creativity much as a physician would inoculate a patient to bring to bear his patient's immune system, not only to affect change that would benefit the individual but, to glean valuable creative resources due to the condition.

Some of the conflict for myself is that I decided to put my effort into art at a late date in my life so that I feel that I don't have a great deal of time to let it take me where it will. That, and as with all artist there is the conflict between the work and the rest of life, the need to spend time working on art and the demands of the day to day function of survival. Thus, I take the theory I have about the changes that a piece of work can have and use it to set my self up to go on. 

I've include this piece of music by Will Hoge for its philosophical value. Have a lovely, lovely weekend.



Martha Miller said...

what WILD self portrait! i think you should title it, "Everyone has a big but..." (you, know, as in a big reason not to do something!)

hee hee!

Here is a link that Artist Deborah Ross sent me which is a profound story about art being life changing...

enjoy your weekend!

Brad Gailey said...

Thanks for the link Martha. You're so insightful, I'd surely like to know more of what you think about this so, keep thinking about it. Your title suggestion is fine with me. Oh yeah, No ifs, ands, or butts were injured to make this piece.