A girl I adore was gang raped. Violated and tormented in ways no person should be violated or tormented in.
Another girl was beaten by two huge guys and would have been raped if she hadn't 1) fought back or 2) been wearing a tampon.
This year another friend had a lover leave her after 8 years and her heart wrenches and aches as I type.
This year a friend has a very sick baby and there is nothing I can do to help his son or be there for him.
This year I've lost someone very important to me and my heart hurts.
This year my best friend has fallen prey to a vicious eating disorder which could very possibly kill her.
What is art? It's a question I haven't tried to find the answer to. I don't look into it in case somebody says 'art is nothing'. I also don't look into it for the babble, for the bullshit. There are so many books writing about the importance of this or the importance of that but the insecurities of each writer reach out from between the lines and slap me in the face. People justify art because they want to feel jusitifed as a creator. People validify art so that their lives will be valid. That's not an answer to me. My life is valid because I am alive. I have friends, artists, who actually speak as if they are better than non-artists. Who claim they feel things more deeply, are more prone to insanity (said with pride), who claim they 'get life' more. I think this is bullshit, too. They're just people who want their lives to have more meaning, so this is what they say. I have friends, artists, who think being an artist is a key to free lands, that it ensures freedoms, that they can wear funky clothes or have crazy piercings and 'walk a different path' than mainstream. This is what being an artist means to them. And it's not the art that allows them this...it's the illusion they create around what art is.
I don't need to justify anything to anybody.
Maybe that's why I don't care about what art is.
I don't need to feel recognised - maybe this is why when people ask what I do I do little more than say "I paint" and move on with the conversation.
I don't need to feel less alone as a person, either, which is why I don't buy book after book (and believe me, there are shelves full) of 'why artists matter' or 'the importance of art'
Last year I said to myself, and to others, that 2008 will be a fabulous year for art. And already, I've painted so much and conquered so much. But I didn't mean, when I said that, that it should be at the cost of the world exploding.
And the world is.
The worlds of the people I know are jagged and torn and we're all being thrown out to sea.
I don't paint to create something.
I paint to survive.
What is art?
Art is my survival technique.
When I cannot stand the horrors of this world, I choose to create a new one to live in.
I do that with my studio.
With my music.
With my incense.
With my singing.
With my dance.
By closing off.
But more importantly...I do this with my painting, by painting new things to believe in or identify with.
I am not ashamed to say that art, to me, is denial. Cowardly, selfish denial. That art is needy, a needing of new things. I'm not going to lie and bullshit and put feathers on anything. Art is something I do when I need to get away. It's only when I'm coming back that I finetune it and turn it into a challenging occupation. It's only when I'm coming back that I want it to reach other people. It's only when I'm coming back that I get excited about the community, about the creations of others, and about investigating fellow artists.
But before that, before that journey home....
art isn't about being something.
Art is about wanting something more.
And I want something more than 2008.
And I am painting up a storm.