This past weekend I, along with the East Coast of the United States, was in the path of Hurricane Irene. I share a home with my brother and we rushed to and fro to bring in every single thing from the porches and yard, procure supplies and in general batten down the hatches. And then we waited. And waited. For two days. We had a few trees down in the neighborhood and lots of wind and rain but mercifully we emerged unscathed from the storm. What does this have to do with art? Well, I had an unexpected bounty of time and while I spent some of it working in an altered book, I had trouble dedicating much time to art making.
Part of the problem was anxiety about the storm. I had a terrible stomach ache and couldn’t sleep. Another problem was that I had a lot of preparation to do for my classes and I spent a great deal of time reading and working on my lectures. But then there was the un-allotted time where I could have made art but did not. I wrestle with this all of the time-when do I push myself and when do I take a rest? Is not art making a form of rest at times? Why is art making one of the last things I push myself to do? I want to devote my full attention and energy to art making-and I rarely have that kind of attention and energy when all the other tasks of the day are completed. I think that I want to make Big Art every day but when I did that on my Art Vacation the mental exertion and challenge of it totally wiped me out. Ah, I go around in circles all of the time trying to find this balance, trying to make something really special part of my daily routine, seeking nirvana and catharsis on a regular basis.
So the art storm was not a storm of art making unfortunately. Rather, it was the internal storm that goes on in my head and maybe even your head too. I will probably never resolve the conundrum of how to relax and make art while still needing the tension to make art. I hope that I can learn to exist peacefully with the thought that there is no resolution, that for me anyway art making and creative tension will always go hand in hand and I should just go in my studio and make some art.